Keely Hodgkinson ‘frustrated’ by bittersweet second as England rack up athletics silvers

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Keely Hodgkinson will be the first to admit that not all silvers are equal.

It’s just over a year since she won that medal at the Olympics in Tokyo, her face etched with wide-eyed shock and disbelief as she also broke Kelly Holmes’ British 800m record.

And it’s 12 days since she won silver at the World Championships in Oregon, just eight-hundredths of a second off top spot.

Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games was due to be the place where she finally perfected the alchemy needed for a golden upgrade, with friends and family watching on another rocking night at the Alexander Stadium.

But the 20-year-old again had to settle for silver, beaten in a sprint finish by Kenya’s Mary Moraa, who also lowered her colours at Stockholm’s Diamond League earlier this season.

Barely out her teens, the super-talented Hodgkinson, in only her second senior season, is far too young to be dubbed a bridesmaid but it was clear this second stung.

“Frustrated is the word,” she said. “I’m not quite sure what happened, it went so quick.

“There are positives but they’re still not golds, so I’m still fuming until I’m stood on top of that podium.

“I’d give myself an eight-and-a-half out of 10 [for the season] because I really wanted that. The worlds was definitely going to be the hardest challenge but I thought I was going to win here but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”

Moraa’s tactics were certainly designed to confuse, she hit the front, dropped to the back and then found a second wind to chase down a fading Hodgkinson on the home straight.

Scotland’s Laura Muir frantically flung herself across the line to claim bronze, although that photo finish is subject to an appeal by Jamaica that delayed the planned medal ceremony.

Hodgkinson and coach Trevor Painter will watch the tape of this puzzling race with interest and she’s got just ten days before she’s back on the track at the European Sports Championships in Munich.

“Maybe I could have been a bit more patient but I gave it my all,” added Hodgkinson.

“I know she went off quite hard, there was a bit of argy-bargy in the corner and I wanted to keep my good position. I didn’t know what Mary was doing, I was focusing on myself.

“We have quite similar strengths when it comes to the last 200m, so my plan is to be ahead of her and hopefully she won’t catch me but she obviously had more.

“We keep learning and I have one more chance to try and finish with a gold this season.”

Zharnel Hughes took silver in the men’s 200m as Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richard clocked a 19.80 second Games record.

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(PA)

Hughes ran a season’s best 20.12 secs, exactly the same time as four years ago on the Gold Coast, when he won gold but then saw that medal stripped from him for obstructing a rival, after he’d completed a lap of honour.

England’s Adam Hague and Harry Coppell also took silver and bronze in the men’s pole vault while Alastair Chambers claimed Guernsey’s first athletics medal - and just their eighth of all-time with a bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles.

“When I came here, I knew I could make history for our little island,” he said. “I’m so proud to come from Guernsey and to put them on the map is my dream.

“It was emotional, it was a hard race. I had Covid last week, so it’s been a hard comeback.”

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