Phoebe Gill sets stunning European U18 800m record – AW

    The 17-year-old Brit goes second on the U18 800m all-time list after incredible 1:57.86 in Belfast

    Phoebe Gill has set a European U18 800m record of 1:57.86 at the Belfast Irish Milers Meet (May 11).

    The 17-year-old won the race, against the likes of Erin Wallace and Abigail Ives, by over two seconds and largely ran the second lap on her own.

    Gill has now smashed the European U18 mark of 1:59.65, set by East Germany’s Marion Geissler-Hübner in 1979.

    It also means that Gill is now the second fastest U18 female athlete over the distance in history. Only China’s Wang Yuan, who ran 1:57.18 in 1993, has gone quicker.

    In going well under the Olympic qualification standard of 1:59.30, Gill has now put herself in contention to represent Team GB at Paris 2024. If the 17-year-old was to qualify then she’d be following in the footsteps of one of her idols Keely Hodgkinson, who won Olympic 800m silver as a teenager at the Tokyo Games.

    Hodgkinson, the national 800m record-holder with 1:55.19, is now the only British athlete who has gone quicker than Gill at U20 level. Gill now joins Hodgkinson in the top 10 on the senior UK all-time list, jumping from 65th to eighth.

    “I love watching her [Hodgkinson] and I’ve seen a lot of her races,” Gill told AW, in an interview at last year’s English Schools Championships. “Mentally she’s just an amazing athlete and performing like she has done in those big races proves it.”

    The St. Albans based athlete, who has been coached and guided by Deborah Steer since the age of six, is also a huge fan of Kelly Holmes and has previously stated that she “hopes to evolve into a similar kind of athlete”.

    Gill, a Youth Commonwealth Games 800m champion, first had a swimming background before running, something she states has helped her strength. Cross country at school was her first introduction into the sport before she transitioned to the track and found home with the middle distances.

    She also holds the UK U17 1500m record of 4:11.96 – her 1500m personal best is now 4:05.87 – and earlier on this season took over three seconds off her indoor 400m personal best with 54.82, highlighting the speed work in training.

    Gill’s dream is to compete at both the Olympics and World Championships and that may end up turning into reality.

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