Sixteen year old Leigh Harrier Keely Hodgkinson became the European U18 800m Champion on Saturday when she represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the U18 European Championships at Gyor Hungary.
Running for GB for the first time she was faced by three rounds of racing – heats, semi final and the final. In heat 1 she finished a comfortable 2nd place in 2:11.82 and running well within herself; in the semi -final she dictated the pace from the gun winning in a time of 2:08.82.
However in the Final Keely pulled out a standout performance with an exceptional show of endurance to win the 800m gold. Setting a fast pace going through 400m in 62.14 sec Keely with 250m to go destroyed the field as no one could go with her change of pace, putting in a devastating sprint for the line she powered away as the gap kept opening up as she won by a good 10m in a championship record of 2:04.86, a truly magnificent performance.
She commented “This feels incredible, I cannot believe I am a European champion it’s more than I could ever have dreamed”. Keely is the first junior girl from Leigh Harriers to become European Champion.