Keely Hodgkinson's amazing year continues with award

Team GB’s Olympic medal-winning duo Keely Hodgkinson and Josh Kerr were crowned British Female and Male Athletes of the Year at the 2021 British Athletics Writers Association awards.
Keely HodgkinsonKeely Hodgkinson
Keely Hodgkinson

Just a year on from scooping the junior female award, 19-year-old Hodgkinson took the main crown after winning a brilliant 800 metres silver in Tokyo, which saw her clock 1min 55.88sec to improve on Kelly Holmes’s national record set seven years before she was born.

In a phenomenal first full year on the senior circuit, Hodgkinson also claimed European indoor 800m gold and won the Diamond League 800m title.

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Such was the level of competition among GB’s leading female athletes that Hodgkinson claimed the Cliff Temple Award for Female British Athlete of the Year ahead of two other Olympic medalists, with 1,500m silver medalist Laura Muir in second and pole vault bronze medalist Holly Bradshaw third.

“I’m really honoured to be named BAWA female athlete of the year,” said Hodgkinson. “It’s amazing to win this award in any year, but to win it in Olympic year just makes it that bit more special. I think the female athletes in our sport this year have been incredible so I’m really grateful to receive this.”

Kerr, 24, smashed his personal best by more than two seconds to win Olympic 1,500m bronze and move second on the national all-time list in the process with a time of 3min 29.05sec.

Based in America and rarely seen on the global circuit, Kerr had earlier won the British 1,500m title.

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He picked up the John Rodda Award for Male British Athlete of the Year ahead of second-placed Elliot Giles, who broke Seb Coe’s British indoor 800m record, and third-placed Andrew Pozzi, who won European indoor 60m silver and made the Olympic 110m hurdles final.

“I heard many amazing stories from many male GB athletes so I’m very honoured to receive this,” the Scot said. “I had a fantastic time out in Tokyo grabbing a medal for Team GB. So this means a lot to myself, my family and my team.”

Thomas Young prevailed in a fiercely-fought battle for Male Para Athlete of the Year after winning T38 Paralympic 100m gold in a European record 10.94sec. Earlier in the season, he had successfully defended his European title.

“Thank you so much for selecting me as your male para athlete of the year,” said Young. “The award means a lot.”

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Hannah Cockroft was named Female Para Athlete of the Year after winning the sixth and seventh Paralympic gold medals of her illustrious career, improving her own world record with a time of 16.39sec to win the T34 100m, before triumphing in the 800m as well.

“A massive thank you,” said Cockroft. “It’s been a really good year for me and I’m so proud of everything I managed to do, especially considering everything we’ve been through in the last 18 months.”

Edward Faulds won the Jim Coote Memorial Award for Junior Male after claiming gold over 400m and 4x400m at the European Under-20 Championships.

Joy Eze’s 100m bronze and 4x100m gold at the same event saw her pick up the Lilian Board Memorial Award for Junior Female.

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With the 59th annual BAWA Awards held virtually on social media rather than staged in person, the prestigious Ron Pickering Memorial Award for Services to Athletics was given to statistician Mark Butler, who has worked diligently in the sport for more than 35 years.

“This means as much to me as it does to anyone who has ever received it,” said Butler. “I was lucky enough to work with Ron in the late 1980s and long before then it was a book by him, in collaboration with the great Mel Watman, which got me hooked on athletics.

“The TV producer who gave me my first big job in athletics explained to me, in the nicest possible way, that they were looking for somebody already a bit sad and obsessed with figures because they couldn’t train anybody to do that. I’m glad to be sad because that’s what it takes to get the job done.”

The Vikki Orvice Inspiration Award was presented to Chris Thompson, who ran a personal best just short of his 40th birthday to win Britain’s Olympic marathon trials, securing his place for the Tokyo Games 23 years after earning his first GB vest and four days after the birth of his first child.

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“I am really humbled,” he said. “This year has just been really special in so many ways for me and my family.

"I’ve been in this sport for 24 years and for everything to have happened… I thought I’d seen it all.

“To have qualified for the Olympics while knocking on the door of 40 - and to become a dad in the same week - I thought that I’d seen it all. It’s blown me away.

"The fact that people are showing their appreciation in this way means a hell of a lot.”