Athletics News

Keely Hodgkinson: “He had so much belief in me”

Keely Hodgkinson: "He had so much belief in me"

The 21-year-old dedicates her European Indoor 800m gold medal to former coach Joe Galvin, who recently passed away

Keely Hodgkinson is used to carrying the British flag on her back with the number of major championships medals she has collected over the past few years.

The Union Jack on this occasion was different.

Joe Galvin, who he and partner Margaret had coached a young Hodgkinson through her early teenage years, sadly passed away on Tuesday (February 28).

The letters of his name were placed across the flag with “legend” placed vertically. It wasn’t hard to work out how much he meant to Hodgkinson and why dedicating her second Euro Indoor 800m title on the spin to Galvin was the first thing on her mind.

For the recently turned 21-year-old, the fact he passed away the day that Hodgkinson flew out to the European Indoor Championships would’ve been an emotional test. It was so fitting she produced her 19th consecutive sub-2 minute performance – excluding finals – with a time of 1:58.66 in Istanbul.

Once victory was secured the emotions poured out.

“I haven’t really had time to think about it or reflect on it because I’ve been at a championships and there has been so much going on,” she told AW.

“I got a little bit emotional in my BBC interview. He was such a great man and had so much belief in me. He gave so much to the sport and I dedicate this gold medal to him.

“He did so much for me. He got me to my first GB vest, my European youth gold [Győr 2018], my European U20 bronze [Borås 2019]. He also helped me find Trevor [Painter].

“Every time I met him he was like ‘you’re going to do this and this!’. I’ll get to go to his funeral in two weeks time and properly say goodbye.”

The manner and expectation of Hodgkinson’s victory proves how far she has come. Since the once young prodigious teenager burst onto the scenes by becoming British 800m champion two years ago, she has gone onto claim Olympic, world and Commonwealth 800m silver, while also becoming European champion in the distance.

Keely Hodgkinson with coach Trevor Painter (Getty)

She holds both British 800m…

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