Everything we know about Keely Hodgkinson’s parents and coaches ahead of the European Athletics Championships 800m final.
Brit Keely Hodgkinson will be looking for the gold medal in the 800m final at the European Athletics Championships later today (19 August).
The 20-year-old announced herself to the world when she took the 800m silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She later became the Diamond League champion and the youngest ever women’s 800m European indoor champion.
She picked up a silver medal at both the World Athletics Championships and the Commonwealth games and will be looking to go one better in Munich later.
Brit advances to 800m final
Keely qualified in first place in her semi-final, finishing at a time of 2:00.67. She told the BBC (via Wigan Today): “I just wanted to make sure I got through, using as little energy as possible. It was all about controlling, saving energy and getting through.
“I’m just enjoying the process, every championship is different, every round is different. You never know what is going to come, so I’m just happy to make it to the final.”
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What we know about Keely Hodgkinson’s parents
The talented runner was raised in Atherton near Leigh and Wigan in Greater Manchester. Keely Hodgkinson’s parents are mother Rachel, and father Dean, both of whom have running experience.
Her father Dean has run the London Marathon in the past while “sporty” mum Rachel trained with famed athletics club, Leigh Harriers.
Hodgkinson was reportedly first shown athletics when her mum took her to watch the track and field action at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester when she was just five months old.
Keely quickly fell in love with athletics. According to The Telegraph, for her 12th birthday present, Keely Hodgkinson’s parents gave her an iPad and told her she could have anything she wanted inscribed on the back of it. Her choice was simple: “Tokyo 2020”. She would go on to win a silver medal in those very Olympic Games.
She was helped out by a millionaire businessman
Keely has three other siblings and is the eldest. She attended Loughborough College, and in 2020 became a student of criminology at Leeds Beckett University.
However, as a youngster, she failed to win funding from British Athletics and was reliant on her parents. As the Yorkshire Post reports, Barrie Wells, a former club, county, and national championships 400 meters runner who has also made millions creating and selling on financial companies, decided to sponsor her.
Wells sponsored 18 athletes for the London 2012 games, including Jessica Ennis and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, and has been hugely influential in her career.
He reportedly matched her £15,000 a year Lottery funding which allowed her to go to Florida and train ahead of Tokyo.
Keely Hodgkinson’s coach
During the pandemic, Hodgkinson first started to be trained by Jenny Meadows, the former UK 800m runner from nearby Wigan, and her husband Trevor Painter. Both Painter and Meadows are Keely’s current coaches.
“If I’m in a certain scenario then Jenny has done it all before and always has good advice for me,” says Hodgkinson.
“My coach always says I’m naturally quite strong and my speed is my weakness so that’s what we’re trying to work on more while I’m still young. I’d probably do all right at 1500m, for example, although I don’t particularly want to do one!”