“The difference doing this out there and on a one-off occasion is like stepping up from non-league football to the England team. It is a massive, massive jump and she has made it”
Seb Coe has hailed Keely Hodgkinson as a once-in-a-generation British talent who can remain at the top for years.
The Wigan teenager won Olympic 800 metres silver in her first global championships, smashing Kelly Holmes’ British record in the process.
“I thought she was pitch perfect,” said the middle-distance legend.
“You know 800 is the most complicated distance on the track, one mistake and you are toast. Her performances in the semi was really smart and she didn’t panic in the final.”
World Athletics boss Coe added: “The difference doing this out there and on a one-off occasion is like stepping up from non-league football to the England team.
“It is a massive, massive jump and she has made it. That was the litmus test.
“What Keely has done is really spectacular for her age. You don’t do what she did unless you are pretty together.
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“There is something about her which is very special. She has that (once in a generation) quality. If she trains well and safely and does the right things she should be around for a long time.”
Hodgkinson, 19, had her feet firmly on the ground yesterday, refusing to buy into the hype swirling around her.
“People are always looking for the next thing,” she said. “I’m just going with the flow.”
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She revealed that she had taken inspiration from a note sent to her by her dad.
“He sent me a quote every day leading up to the champs and the first one I thought was quite relevant to the world.
“He said: ‘Make sure you test positive for faith. Keep your distance from fear. Isolate yourself.’ I tried to do that.”
Hodgkinson intends to take millionaire businessman and philanthropist Barrie Wells up on the promise he made that if she reached the final he would arrange for her to drive a “James Bond’ Aston Martin.
But it is her own fast show which interests her more given that Athing Mu, the only woman to beat her, is the same age.
“To have two 19 year olds on top of the podium is crazy,” she said. “We’re number one and two in the world right now and I think our battles to come are really going to raise the bar.”