Keely Hodgkinson just set a new U20 world indoor record at 800m, this past weekend. Stuart Weir brings us up to date on this exciting young athlete.
Keely Hodgkinson on top of the world
British teenager, Keely Hodgkinson set a new women’s Under 20 World record in the 800m, running 1:59.03 in the Vienna Indoor Classic last weekend. The 18 year-old is coached by Trevor Painter, husband of Jenny Meadows, who knows a bit about 800m running herself. Meadows Tweeted: “so proud of our gal, smashing the world junior record by 2 seconds [2:01.03 by Ethiopia’s Meskerem Legesse, which has stood since 2004]. Special athlete and awesome person”.
An excellent time and in a race where she was running alone on the final lap, Hodkinson is also the 2020 British champion at the distance, indoor and outdoor – winning the indoor title as a 17 year-old. With the usual caveats about 2020 being a strange year and not everyone competing, you can only beat those who are in the race – and she did.
She commented: “I’m over the moon to pull off that performance in my first indoor season. I knew it would be a tough competition, but I have trained really well and knew that I could put in the performance when it counted. I’m really excited for the outdoor season and what it holds for me” after winning the British Indoors in 2:04.37.
Of her GB outdoor title in September 2020 in 2:03.24 she said: “I’m really happy to go indoor and outdoor. Lockdown was really hard getting through the training, but it has really paid off. It was a messy race – I found myself boxed in, found a way out and I’m really pleased with how it went. I’m hoping that I managed to keep strong and focused. I’ve learnt a lot from watching others. I hope to continue to progress from this”.
Her performances underline the strength in depth of British mile-distance running :
Laura Muir 1:58.44 and 3:57.40 in 2020
Jemma Reekie 1:57.91 and 4:00.56 in 2020
Then there is also Laura Weightman, Adelle Tracy, Alexandra Bell, Shelayne Oskan-Clarke, Lynsey Sharpe and Melissa Courtney-Bryant to consider.
The men are equally strong with three finalists in the 2019 World Championship 1500 meters – Jake Wightman (fifth), Josh Kerr (sixth) and Neil Gourley. Wightman ran 3:29.47 in 2020. And you can add to the mix Charlie Da’Vall Grice and Chris O’Hare.
In the 800 there is Wightman, Daniel Rowden, Elliot Giles. Max Burgin and Kyle Langford all sub 1:45 in 2020. Giles was a winner last week in the Karlsruhe Indoor and Jamie Webb ran an Indoor PB in Vienna.
Competition for the three places in the GB team will be tough.