Fastest time in the world statement from Keely Hodgkinson

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Keely Hodgkinson put down a real marker by recording the fastest 800m time in the world this year at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.

The 20-year-old from Leigh, who is coached by Wigan’s Trevor Painter and his wife Jenny Meadows, blew apart the Diamond League field.

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She'd gone into it in high spirits, saying: "It is pretty much a world final, a nice early-season world final, but I think it is going to be a lot of fun, I am looking forward to it."

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Keely Hodgkinson romps to victory in OregonKeely Hodgkinson romps to victory in Oregon
Keely Hodgkinson romps to victory in Oregon

And with just seven weeks to go until the World Championships, Hodgkinson showed she aims to build on last year's breakthrough campaign and again challenge for major honours.

Olympic champion Athing Mu pulled out of the race due to the after-effects of Covid.

But Hodgkinson's time of 1:57.72 would have put her in winning contention in any case.

After the pacemaker led the runners through the bell in 58.3, Hodgkinson took over with 150m to beat US duo Ajee’ Wilson and Raevyn Rogers.

Fellow Brit Jemma Reekie finished eighth in 2:00.53.