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British star Hodgkinson advances in European indoors 800m

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In Istanbul, Keely Hodgkinson, the defending champion, effortlessly progressed to the semi-finals of the 800m at the European Indoors Championships on Thursday, just in time for her birthday celebrations.

The British athlete, who achieved the national 800m indoor record of 1:57.18 during the winter and was crowned European outdoor champion over the distance last year, turns 21 on Friday. “It will be a lovely birthday present to myself if I can defend my title,” she told the BBC. Hodgkinson clocked 2:01.67 in her heat on Thursday, and the semi-finals are scheduled for Saturday, with the final set for Sunday.

In other news, Jakob Ingebrigtsen will begin his quest for a 1500m/3000m double on Friday. Ingebrigtsen, who won outdoor world 1500m silver last year, is the clear favourite for both golds in Istanbul.

The Norwegian athlete was beaten to the gold by Jake Wightman in Eugene last year, but with the Briton still recovering from injury, Ingebrigtsen’s chances look strong. The first round of the 1500m concluded Thursday’s action, and the final will take place on Friday, with the 3000m final set for Sunday evening.

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