Silver medal for Keely Hodgkinson in women’s 800 metres in Tokyo

Keely Hodgkinson claimed silver in Tokyo (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)
13:53pm, Tue 03 Aug 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Keely Hodgkinson claimed a stunning 800 metres silver medal at the Olympics as the rising star smashed Kelly Holmes’ British record.

The 19-year-old clocked one minute 55.88 seconds to finish behind winner Athing Mu of the USA in Tokyo.

She also set a new national record in the process, beating Holmes’ mark of 1.56.21 minutes that the double Olympic champion set in 1995.

Hodgkinson told the BBC: “It was so open and I wanted to put it all out there, I’m so happy.

“Kelly Holmes is a legend. I’ve looked up to her and spoken to her in the last couple of days, she’s a lovely person.

“I just have no words. It means so much, and thank you to everyone that has sent messages over the past couple of days.

“If the Olympics had been last year I wouldn’t have been here, but suddenly it’s given me a year to grow and compete with these girls.”

Jemma Reekie came an agonising fourth, despite setting a new personal best of 1.56.90 minutes, after being caught by the USA’s Raevyn Rogers.

Alex Bell also claimed a personal best of 1.55.66 minutes to come seventh.

Hodgkinson, studying criminology at Leeds Beckett University, has gone from virtually unknown at the start to the podium in Tokyo.

In January she ran 1:59.03 in an 800m race in Vienna to become the fastest woman under 20 at the distance indoors.

A month later she became the youngest British European Indoor champion for over 50 years after winning the 800m in Torun.

Hodgkinson is not funded by British Athletics as, amid the coronavirus pandemic, they did not add anyone further onto the World Class Performance Programme in 2020.

Coach Jenny Meadows, who won world bronze in 2009, tweeted a picture of a relaxed Hodgkinson curling her eyelashes in the build-up to underline her composure.

She has been backed by Barrie Wells, a millionaire businessman and philanthropist who has previously helped fund 18 athletes, including Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, to the London 2012 Olympics.

Wells had promised her the chance to drive an Aston Martin if she had made the final.

Sign up to our newsletter