The British Indoor 400m Trials, photo 1 by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
The British Indoor 400m Trials, photo 2 by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
The British Indoor 400m Trials, photo 3 by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
This piece is on the fantastic 400m at the British Indoor Championships. This is the third piece that Stuart Weir did on the second day of the Championships.
The women’s 400m was an intriguing race which seemed to promise much and delivered fully. On paper, based on PRs, SBs and qualifying times, there was little to choose between the athletes. There was Hannah Williams (younger sister of Jodie) and a former GB Indoor champion. And carrying on the sisters’ theme, Vikki Ohuruogu has an older sister who collected two world titles plus Olympic gold and silver at 400. Ama Pipi, an Olympic semi-finalist in Tokyo and an NCAA Indoor First Team All-American in 2018 when at Oklahoma. There was Jessie Knight “just” a hurdler but with a capacity to win races. Then there was Keely Hodgkinson, silver medallist at 800 in Tokyo, with a tremendous kick – but inexperienced in 400.
Jessie Knight took it on and was neck and neck with Ama Pipi. Keely came late as we knew she would. Six hundredths of a second separated the medallists with sixth place 0.68 seconds behind the winner. My seat was nearly in line with the final but I had no certainty as to who had won. It finished
1 Jessie Knight 52.37
2 Keely Hodgkinson 52.42 PR
3 Ama Pipi 52.43
4 Hannah Williams 52.51
5 Victoria Ohuruogu 52.92
6 Yemi-Mary John 53.05 PR
The comments of the medallist were:
Jessie Knight, The British Indoor 400m Trials, photo by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
Winner – Jessie Knight: “I am really over the moon with that result today. I had such a rough summer last year that I came into the indoors determined to enjoy it and it has been amazing to perform really well and also enjoy myself. It is important to remember to enjoy it because there will always be ups and downs and moments like this make it all worth it.
I am looking forward to going to World Indoors now, to enjoy it and perform well – ready for the summer. It was an incredible race. I have never done that finish before but I really knew it was to be a close race after yesterday’s hard heats. We all had tired legs so I thought it would it would be a blanket finish. Chris McAllister in my training group always does this and he told me ‘don’t forget to arm dip’ so I was ready!
“As a 400m hurdler I love coming here for the indoors flat. In the summer I will be looking to get to the world final and, also, a Commonwealth medal then it will be a case of what is left in the legs. It’ll be such an exciting summer with hurdles in all three and the relays if I possibly can”.
Keely Hodgkinson, Muller Indoor GP, photo by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
Keely Hodgkinson: “I can’t wait to watch that race back. That was competitive, a lot of fun, and great to be involved in. My strength definitely lies in the second lap and it was building from the first 200m. The race was hit and miss and it took lane 1 and get boxed in or go round the outside. It was just about biding my time and I knew it would be a close finish at the end.
“The relay is something I definitely want to do in Belgrade and I think with the girls now we have a really strong team. I won’t be able to do the 4x400m relay heats because of the 800m but fingers crossed they let me do the final! I think we can put on a good show and win a medal..
“The worlds and the Commonwealths are the priority for the summer and the Europeans we’ll see. If I’m fit and healthy then why not? I’m happy to do the relays in the summer as well if I feel OK!”
Ama Pipi: “I’m all good and I knew it would be a hard race. I feel really strong in my indoor season so far and I’m in a really good place both mentally and physically now. It’s amazing to be part of a great group of girls. Racing Keely [Hodgkinson] is great and I know she was going to be super strong on the second lap. I hope to be part of the 4x400m relay team in Belgrade and I’d love to get into some relay teams in the summer. Fingers crossed!”
Jessie Knight, photo by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
The flash quotes are very informative but need some interpretation. Knight as the winner with the standard is selected for the World Indoors for the 400m. Hodgkinson seems to be implying that she is seeking selection for the 800m in Belgrade rather than the 400m. That could mean a pleasant surprise for Ama Pipi, who, finishing third seems to be expecting only to make the relay team but may not be upgraded to the individual. And if Hodgkinson is seeking selection for the 800m, where the trials winner Jenny Selman takes the automatic place, that leaves it a straight choice between Keely Hodgkinson and Jemma Reekie (second in the 800 at trials) Reekie was fourth in Tokyo and Hodgkinson second so the selection decision will disappoint one excellent athlete.
Ama Pippi, Jessie Knight, Keely Hodgkinson, photo by British Athletics Collection/ Getty Images
Is there a moral argument to favor Reekie who ran the 800 at trials?
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