Keely Hodgkinson predicts ‘good race’ against Athing Mu in 800m final

Keely Hodgkinson welcomed another showdown with Athing Mu after the defending 800m world champion showed her hand.

American Mu had kept her rivals guessing over whether she would turn up in Hungary after her coach, Bobby Kersee, last month suggested she may skip the World Championships.

But the 21-year-old, who forced Hodgkinson to settle for silver in Eugene last year, won her heat in one minute 59.59 seconds in Budapest on Wednesday.

Hodgkinson eased into Friday’s semi-finals after winning her heat in one minute 59.53 seconds and is eager to take another shot at Mu.

“Yeah, I saw here in the warm-up. It’s good that she’s here. Hopefully all three of us (Hodgkinson, Mu and Mary Moraa) will make it to the final and it will be a good race,” she said.

“I was just jogging and she passed me and I was like ‘oh, she’s come’ because nobody knew. That’s the first time I knew, I knew she was on the start list. I didn’t know she was here.”

Hodgkinson also had to contend with temperatures over 30 degrees at 10am in Hungary.

World Athletics had already moved the women’s 5,000m heats to Wednesday evening because of the soaring heat and Hodgkinson admitted it has been a battle.

She said: “The conditions are awful. Mixed in with the 6am does not bode well for me.

“But I’ve got it done; I’m glad it’s the only morning round. I like to be back at 12 and done but I also like my sleep.

“Anti-doping came for me yesterday as well, at 6am at the door, so I was not happy. But as I say, first round out the way.

“It’s just (about) keeping cool. Even when I came the other night on Sunday to watch and just being sat there in the heat, it’s draining.”

Jemma Reekie joined Hodgkinson in the semi-finals after running one minute 59.71s and feels she is in a better place to challenge the best, following the split from coach Andy Young this year.

She said: “I expected Mu to be here and I want Mu to be here. I want them all in that final and I want me in that final. I want to run the best against the best in the world.

“It’s so nice compared to last year. Last year, I wasn’t ready. This year. I’m more than ready.

“I’m better than I’ve ever been. But you can’t take these heats and semis for granted.”

In the men’s 200m, Zharnel Hughes – who won 100m bronze on Sunday – breezed through to the semis in 19.99s.

“It was like a Sunday jog,” he said. “I’m inspired, after getting that medal it makes you want more. It makes you more committed and dedicated to see what more you can do.

“The job’s not done yet. I’m not disrespecting anyone, I’m just letting you know I am in shape. I am feeling well and I am looking forward to going through the rounds.”

Daryll Neita and Dina Asher-Smith overcame their 100m disappointment by reaching the women’s 200m semi-finals.

Asher-Smith finished eighth in the 100m final on Monday but won her heat in 22.46s and Neita, who failed to make the final, came second in her heat in 22.39s.

New 100m world champion Sha’Carri Richardson was the fastest qualifier in 22.16s.

Neita said: “I had to have a memory of a goldfish, the 100m didn’t go to plan, we will review it after the Championships. We all know I’m capable of much better things.

“It’s patience this game. I know where I’m at and what I need to work on. Doubling up before next year (Olympics), I’m getting a great rehearsal.”