Shropshire Star

Keely Hodgkinson holds on to retain 800m European Championship title in Rome

Hodgkinson was pushed to the line by the fast-finishing Gajanova, who took silver in 58.79.

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Keely Hodgkinson clung onto her 800 metres title after holding off Slovakia’s Gabriela Gajanova at the European Athletics Championships in Rome.

The 22-year-old led from the front to win in a time of 58.65 seconds but was pushed to the line by the fast-finishing Gajanova, who took silver in 58.79.

Hodgkinson’s winning time was significantly slower than the 58.07 she clocked in sealing her place in the final on Tuesday as fastest qualifier.

Italy European Athletics Championships
Keely Hodgkinson squeezed home in the women’s 800m final in Rome (Riccardo de Luca/AP)

And she revealed she had felt unwell in the build-up to the race, telling BBC Sport: “Sometimes you’ve just got to find a way to win.

“I wanted to go out and get a good time today but I’m happy with the win. I think I would have been disappointed if I didn’t try.”

Hodgkinson is gunning for gold in Paris this summer having had to settle for silver at both the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the two most recent World Championships.

Great Britain’s women’s 4x100m relay quartet of Dina Asher-Smith, Desiree Henry, Amy Hunt and Daryll Neita also surged to gold in the final women’s event on the track.

Asher-Smith, who had already won gold in the 100m, got her team off to a flying start on the anchor leg, and the medal was brought home by Neita, one day after she missed out on 200m gold by the narrowest of margins.

Italy European Athletics Championships
Ireland took silver in the women’s 4x100m (Stefano Costantino/AP)

Earlier, Ireland’s team of Sophie Becker, Rhasidat Adeleke, Phil Healy and Sharlene Mawdsley set a new national record as they claimed the silver medal in the women’s 4x400m relay.

The quartet finished in a time of 3:22.71 behind a Netherlands team anchored by world 400m hurdles champion Femke Bol, with Belgium taking bronze.

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