European champion not totally satisfied by her indoor 800m mark, while Laura Muir and Gudaf Tsegay give it their all but are beaten by the clock in Birmingham
It tells you a lot about Keely Hodgkinson and the standards she sets for her herself that breaking a British record just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
The Olympic, world and Commonwealth silver medallist was untouchable as she won the World Athletics Indoor Tour 800m crown with a front-running victory at the Final in Birmingham. Her winning time of 1:57.18 shaved vital fractions off the national mark of 1:57.20 she had set at the Utilita Arena this time last year, but still the 20-year-old’s first reaction was not one of satisfaction.
Breaking Jolanda Ceplak’s world record of 1:55.82, set on the very day Hodgkinson was born 21 years ago, was not necessarily on the cards, but the lasting impression the Briton left was one of wanting to have at least put it under threat.
“I’ve had time to calm down. It’s a British record so I can’t complain but you know when you are capable of so much more,” said the European champion indoors and out. “I felt I was on pace but in the last 50 metres it got away from me.
“When you set your goals high, you want to achieve them. It was tough to get the world record, but I’ll keep trying and I’ll keep coming back to give it a go.”
That was the third 800m race of the indoor season for Hodgkinson. She has run them all in 1:57. Her next will come at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul, where she is defending champion and a clear favourite to add another gold.
“I have been really consistent and I’ve been chopping my times down. There’s always the next thing in sport,” she said after a race in which she had gone through the halfway split in 56.94, with Australian Catriona Bisset coming second in 1:59.83 and the ever improving Issy Boffey following up her British Indoor Championships win from a week ago by lowering her PB to 2:00.25.
“For me now, it’s straight into the Europeans and that’s my focus now.”
The same can be said for Laura Muir, who had also arrived in Birmingham with record-breaking ambitions. The Scot’s sights were set on Maria Mutola’s world indoor 1000m mark of 2:30.94 from 1999.
The buoyant Birmingham crowd did their best to will her on but, as Muir put it, this is the “nastiest” of distances and she began to fall off the pace with around 400m to…
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