18-year-old female runner Keely Hodgkinson just broke the record of 800 meters in the U20 age group in Vienna in late January.

Hodgkinson hit the finish line and set a world record of 800 meters U20 female age group in Vienna on January 31.  Photo: World Atheltics

Hodgkinson hit the finish line and set a world record of 800 meters U20 female age group in Vienna on January 31. Image: World Atheltics

Hodgkinson has long been considered an athletic genius, winning all 13 races she participated in since the age of 12. This runner is fifth in the list of the best under 17 athletes in the UK at a distance of 800 meters. But the performance at the World Youth Athletics Tournament in Vienna, Austria on January 31 – the 18-year-old’s first prize in 2021 – really caught the world ‘s attention.

That day, Hodgkinson started off slower than some of his opponents, taking 27 seconds to hit the 200-meter mark and 57 seconds to finish halfway. But in the last 400 meters, she began to accelerate vigorously, only to finish in 1 minute 59.03 seconds. Hodgkinson thereby set a new world record for this age at 800m. Old record by Meskerem Legesse, foot runner Ethiopia, set in 20004 with two seconds slower.

Hodgkinson set the world record for running 800 meters under the age of 20

According to coach Jenny Meadows and husband Trevor Painter, also a member of the coaching staff for Hodgkinson, the aforementioned record is just the beginning. “It was a bold statement, but we looked at Keely and really thought she could go easy, even break Kelly Holmes. She’s 18, and I see Keely’s left,” Meadows said. Potential for growth. British record timeline is what we are aiming for. ” In 1995, Kelly Holmes set the record of running 800 meters of English athletics with a time of 1 minute 56.21 seconds.

Hodgkinson’s arrival in Vienna was completely unexpected, and that made her world record even more impressive. The 18-year-old runner was not initially planning to play in Austria, but changed plans when her schedule in London was canceled and notified three days in advance. Hodgkinson therefore chose to fly to Austria, after his transit in Frankfurt.

Later, when there were only a few meters from the boarding gate to Frankfurt – the first of two flights that day, Hodgkinson received a notice that Germany had an order requiring passengers to have Covid-19 test results. negative will be issued by host country within 48 hours of entry. Before that, the time limit allowed was 72 hours.

“I wasn’t even in Germany, but just flew over there, but it wasn’t accepted. They refused to let me on the plane,” she said.

Hodgkinson arrived in Frankfurt on a later flight, and therefore missed the connecting flight to Vienna. She had to find a hotel room urgently, otherwise she would have to spend the night at the airport. At 5 o’clock the next day, she had to wake up to get ready for a flight to the Austrian capital.

“The ride is so stressful, it leaves your mind out of the race. So I’m happy with the reason to justify myself, if I run bad, it’s because I came on the run day and was exhausted. Thanks to that, I feel comfortable at the starting line, “said British athletics prodigy. And with that relaxed mentality, Hodgkinson suddenly won, setting a new record for the U20s at 800 meters.

But for Hodgkinson, the world of professional athletics is still in its infancy. Only last year, she went abroad to compete in a professional tournament for the first time. Just last month, Hodgkinson received his first training abroad, with a trip to Duba. She recently enrolled at Leeds Beckett University and lives in a dormitory with 12 other students. Hodgkinson studied psychology and criminology in his freshman year. But while excited about the opportunity to gain experience in crime psychology, she is more likely to stick with the track and choose to follow the path of extreme sports.

Hodgkinson is sharing the time between attending university and practicing to compete for the goal of winning this year's European young gold medal.  Photo: World Athletics

Hodgkinson is sharing the time between attending university and practicing to compete for the goal of winning this year’s European young gold medal. Image: World Athletics

Coming to the World Indoor Tour in Lievin, France on February 9, Hodgkinson was able to participate in the biggest tournament of his career and compete first with another hope of British athletics – Jemma Reekie. Last year, Reekie established the world’s fastest indoor 800m run since 2006.

“I have been wanting to race with Jemma for a long time. In the next few years, I need to be confident against such elite athletes. They are very fast runners and I just need to try to keep up with them. It’s fun.” , Says Hodgkinson.

The performance in Vienna suddenly made Hodgkinson a contender for the 800-meter championship in the European indoor track and field championships this March. But Hodgkinson doesn’t want to burn the phase yet. Her immediate goal is to win the gold medal in the European youth athletics tournament, after the bronze medal in 2019 at the age of 17. She wants to train herself well before rubbing with Olympic-class athletes.

Coach Meadows expects bigger things, even though she doesn’t want to put pressure on students. “It’s crazy to think she’s not going to the Olympics. We don’t put any pressure, but want to release Keely into the ocean, because you don’t know what will happen in the future,” the coach said. .

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