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Keely Hodgkinson wins 800m gold for Great Britain at European Championships in Rome



Keely Hodgkinson wins 800m gold for Great Britain at European Championships in Rome

Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson won gold in the 800m at the European Championships in Rome, retaining the title she won two years ago in Munich.

The 22-year-old medal hope for the Paris 2024 Olympics won in a time of 1:58.65, beating Slovakia’s Gabriela Gajanova, who finished strongly to take the silver, and France’s Anais Bourgoin in third.

Hodgkinson led the race throughout, holding off her rivals, despite not feeling 100 per cent coming into Wednesday’s final.

“I picked up an illness a little bit yesterday,” she told the BBC. “Sometimes you’ve just got to find a way to win.

“I wanted to go out and get a good time today but I’m happy with the win. I think I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t try.”

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Favourite Olympics memory? Biggest inspiration? Get to know Olympic and World silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson as she prepares for the Paris Games this summer

It is her second major title following her triumph in Munich two years ago, while she has two World Championships silver medals and another from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, when she was just 19.

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Keely Hodgkinson says she wants to turn her silver medal from Tokyo into gold in Paris and will be ‘fearless’ in her approach as she looks to make it happen

Hodgkinson’s personal best in the 800m currently stands at 10th fastest on the all-time list at 1:55:19 seconds, making her a major medal hope in Paris this summer.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the Games, Hodgkinson said: “When people think about the day of an Olympic final it can be very stressful. You know ‘oh god, I’ve worked this entire year for two minutes to get it right’.

“But I think one of my pros is I look forward to it so much that I don’t even think about getting it wrong.

“I’ll sit down and say to myself ‘well, I’ve raced these girls a million times’, and I almost don’t think about it being this big Olympic final.

“It’s just two laps of a track that I’ve done many, many times.”

Great Britain’s women’s 4x100m relay quartet of Dina Asher-Smith, Desiree Henry, Amy Hunt and Daryll Neita also surged to gold in the final women’s event on the track.

Asher-Smith, who had already won gold in the 100m, got her team off to a flying start on the anchor leg, and the medal was brought home by Neita, one day after she missed out on 200m gold by the narrowest of margins.

Earlier, Ireland’s team of Sophie Becker, Rhasidat Adeleke, Phil Healy and Sharlene Mawdsley set a new national record as they claimed the silver medal in the women’s 4x400m relay.

The quartet finished in a time of 3:22.71 behind a Netherlands team anchored by world 400m hurdles champion Femke Bol, with Belgium taking bronze.

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