World Athletics Championship 2023: Great Britain equals its best-ever medal total despite Keely Hodgkinson being denied the 800m gold

World Athletics Championship 2023: Great Britain equals its best-ever medal total despite Keely Hodgkinson being denied the 800m gold

Keely Hodgkinson played a pivotal role in helping Great Britain achieve its highest-ever medal tally of 10 on the concluding day of the World Athletics Championship in Budapest.

Despite being the swiftest woman globally this year, Hodgkinson had aspired to seize the gold medal. Nevertheless, as she crossed the finish line, she clapped her hands and expressed frustration at yet another elusive gold slipping through her fingers.

The 21-year-old executed a nearly flawless race, securing another silver to complement her previous accomplishments at the Olympics, World Championships, and Commonwealth Games over the past two years. This marked the beginning of a triumvirate of medals on Sunday night, with both of Britain’s 4x400m relay teams clinching bronze. This achievement propelled the UK’s medal count to double figures, mirroring the singular other instance when this feat was accomplished three decades earlier in Stuttgart.

Hodgkinson had stood as one of Britain’s leading hopes for gold in Hungary. Despite overcoming Athing Mu, her conqueror at both the Olympic and World levels, for the first time in her career, she couldn’t quite close in on Mary Moraa, who repeated the feat of denying her gold as she had done in Birmingham last summer.

Hodgkinson clocked a time of 1:56.34, marking the third fastest in her career but falling short of solidifying her position as a world champion.

Although a near-miss, the race demonstrated that she had absorbed lessons from past endeavors. She deviated from her customary front-running strategy and maintained a slightly trailing position behind Mu, who dictated the pace. As Moraa surged ahead in the home stretch, there was a fleeting moment suggesting Hodgkinson might overtake her at the finish line. However, she fell just shy of that achievement, while the Kenyan engaged in a celebratory jig and lay on the track, playfully wiggling her feet in jubilation.

Following the race, Hodgkinson stated, “Consistently competing with the world’s best is my goal. I gave it everything I had. I don’t believe I made any significant mistakes. I genuinely believed I would win. Though it’s not gold or bronze, I’m still on the podium. The order was different from last year; who knows what next year will bring. One day, I’ll claim the top spot. I’ll strive for gold again.”

Jemma Reekie positioned herself for a medal but ultimately secured fifth place after a tumultuous season marked by her split from longtime coach Andy Young at the year’s outset. Reekie expressed, “I’m proud of my performance. I was courageous. I knew it would be challenging. I truly desired to be among the medalists today, but those competitors are formidable. I have a lot of work ahead of me.”

The men’s relay team lacked their leading figure, individual silver medalist Matt Hudson-Smith, who had been grappling with Achilles tendonitis throughout the season. Nonetheless, the quartet consisting of Alex Haydock-Wilson, Charlie Dobson, Lewis Davey, and Rio Mitcham captured bronze, trailing behind the United States and France. In the women’s relay, the Netherlands’ Femke Bol showcased a breathtaking final leg to secure gold over the US, while the British quartet of Laviai Nielsen, Amber Anning, Ami Pipi, and Nicole Yeargin clinched another bronze. Morgan Lake nearly elevated the night’s success for the British delegation in the high jump by clearing 1.97 meters but fell short at 1.99 meters, culminating in a fourth-place finish.

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