European Championships: Hat-trick medal bid still intact for Jake Wightman and Keely Hodgkinson

·3-min read
Star: Keely Hodgkinson  (AP)
Star: Keely Hodgkinson (AP)

Jake Wightman and Keely Hodgkinson remain on course to complete hat-tricks of major medals this summer after cruising through their 800m heats at the European Championships in Munich on Friday morning.

Wightman won a shock world title in Oregon last month over 1500m and backed that up by taking bronze for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The 28-year-old is running the shorter middle-distance in Germany and won a brisk opening heat in 1:45.93 to qualify fastest for tomorrow’s semi-finals.

“I haven’t run [an 800m] since May so I was a bit nervous about whether I’d done enough work for it,” Wightman said. “But I felt okay, it woke me up for this time in the morning.

“I just wanted to make sure I was in contention with 200m to go and then if I needed to push on a bit to be safe then that’s what I needed to do.”

Wightman will be joined in the semis by team-mates Daniel Rowden and Ben Pattison, while in the women’s event Jemma Reekie and Alex Bell are safely through alongside Hodgkinson.

The British record holder, still just 20, is desperate to win a first senior outdoor title, having won Olympic, world and Commonwealth silver over the course of the past 12 months, and controlled her heat to win in 2:03.71.

“It’s been a very long season and my body’s feeling it,” she said. “We’ll come back for the semis tomorrow and hopefully the final and give it all we’ve got. I’ve been just trying to sleep, to be honest. Sleep, sleep, sleep. There’s no rule book for this, there has never been three championships in one season, so we’re doing the best we can and we’ll see what happens.”

Matthew Hudson-Smith last night won Britain’s first gold medal of the championships with victory over 400m, while team-mate Alex Haydock-Wilson followed him home for bronze.

Hudson-Smith has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence this season, winning bronze at the World Championships, after which he revealed he had attempted suicide last year following a series of injury and mental health struggles.

“I’m so happy to be European champion again,” the 27-year-old said. “It has been a busy summer, but I am so pleased to be able to compete against the best in the world.”

Tonight, Dina Asher-Smith is due back in action in the semi-finals of the 200m, 48 hours after she limped home last in the 100m final complaining of cramp in both calves.

Eilish McColgan, who has doubled up in the long distances at all three championships, will finally see her mammoth season come to an end as she looks to add a fourth medal to her fine campaign in the 5000m final.

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen is the star international name on show. The 21-year-old won the 1500m and 5000m in Berlin four years ago and is looking to complete the same double in the final of the former event, having missed out on the world title to Wightman in Eugene.