Keely Hodgkinson relishing spotlight after upset win over Laura Muir

Keely Hodgkinson relishing spotlight after upset win over Laura Muir

Rising star Keely Hodgkinson insists she will relish the spotlight after upsetting Laura Muir to book her place at the Olympics.

The 19-year-old defended her 800m British title in stunning style to add to the European Indoor gold she won in March.

Hodgkinson clocked one minute 59.61 seconds after overhauling Muir and Jemma Reekie in the final 70 metres at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester on Sunday.

“I love being in this championship environment and feel I can perform under pressure,” said the Wigan-born athlete.

“The pressure wasn’t on me; I was a little bit of an underdog but I enjoy being in the championship environment, it’s something I thrive off, even being 19. I’m excited putting myself up against the world’s best.

“I really did believe I could do it. It was a case of executing and not panicking, especially against Laura and Jemma who are very, very good athletes.

“It’s something I can’t put into words. To come away with the win wasn’t just a confidence-booster but a testament to how hard I’ve worked. I’m really glad I’ve been able to secure my place.

“I’d definitely like to emulate Kelly (Holmes, 2004 Olympic 800m and 1500m champion) but I was only two when she ran that race so I don’t really remember it.

“One of my favourites is Michael Jordan, I watched the documentary on Netflix and I just thought he had the mentality that he wants it so he’s going to go and get it. I like that.”

Muir, the 1500m European champion, finished in two minutes 0.24 seconds and is likely to be handed a discretionary spot for the 800m, with Team GB’s athletics squad named on Tuesday, after failing to make the top two.

She said: “I didn’t really run a very good race. It was a little bit of a messy run. You can’t afford to do that with this calibre of competition but still to come third is a good performance.

“To be going to another Olympics, hopefully in two events, is quite hard.

“Looking at the times and the rankings, I think I am capable of making that (800m Olympic) final. If we can have three Brits in the final that would be fantastic.”

Training partner Reekie was second in two minutes 0.12 seconds to seal her spot for the Tokyo Games, which start next month.

“The British girls are doing so well and you can’t take anyone for granted. Everyone on that start line deserved to qualify for the Olympics,” she said.

“It was just getting the job done. It’s amazing. I’m sure it’s gonna hit me be a bit later as well. It is something I’ve always dreamed of.”

Adam Gemili won the men’s 200m final in 20.63 seconds and is on the plane to Tokyo having finished an agonising fourth in Rio five years ago.

He said: “It’s nice to make the team, it was cool. The wind was strong, we came off the bend and I was like ‘oh my God.’ It wasn’t spectacularly quick, especially given the times around the world, but it’s not about that here.

“It’s about making the team and what matters is Tokyo and I’m looking forward to it. I just need to race more. I was going to do the 100m too but my coach said to focus on the 200m. I just need races, I’ve missed a lot this year.”

Jodie Williams beat Beth Dobbin to the women’s 200m title, Jazmin Sawyers took long jump victory with a leap of 6.75m ahead of Abigail Irozuru and Lorraine Ugen and Morgan Lake won the high jump.

Tiffany Porter is the women’s 100m hurdles champion, Elliot Giles narrowly won the men’s 800m title, Tom Bosworth claimed the 5,000m race walk title while Sophie McKinna earned the shot put crown.