European Championships: Leeds duo Alex Bell and Keely Hodgkinson in the 800m final

The Leeds middle-distance star managed to book his place in Saturday night’s 800m final with a polished performance in Munich.

Bell, 29, was third in Friday morning’s second 800 semifinal after coming back behind Renelle Lamote and her British teammate Jemma Reekie in 2:00.53.

It turned out to be a scrappy encounter at the city’s Olympic Stadium and Bell, who finished seventh in last summer’s Olympic final, says his experience on the tour is finally helping him deliver.

Alexandra Bell of Great Britain, Renelle Lamote of France, Lore Hoffmann of Switzerland, Christina Hering of Germany and Jemma Reekie of Great Britain, left to right, compete in a women’s 800 semifinal meters at the Olympic Stadium at the European Championships in Munich. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

She said: “I think even though I’ve been racing for so long, it’s only been this season now, with every race I do, they stress me out less when it gets loud and lumpy and trippy.

“In the past, I panicked at this time.

“So I just conserve more energy because the calmer you are, the more energy you save.

“I looked sideways at the other athletes on the straight, but it was okay. I am happy.”

Bell clocked a brilliant personal best of 1:57.66 to produce his career result in Tokyo last summer.

But she has struggled with a stop-start 2022 campaign after an early-season injury derailed her progress to the world championships in Oregon.

Bell finished seventh in her semi-final Eugene as teammate Keely Hodgkinson – Leeds Beckett University student – who burst onto the scene with silver in Tokyo last summer, emulated those feats on the world stage.

The Yorkshire star then flew the England flag in Birmingham before preparing to wrap up his big league season this week.

Bell, Reekie and Hodgkinson all qualified for Saturday night’s final and will help round out a strong contingent of international stars battling for a medal.

Bell says she’s relishing the prospect as Hodgkinson, a silver medalist at the world and Commonwealth championships already this summer, insists she doesn’t feel the pressure as she chases her first gold at major championships.

“It’s great to see the three of us,” said Bell, who qualified in an early morning contest in Munich.

“But now I really can’t wait to lie now!”

Hodgkinson, 20, added: “I would like to be on the top step of the podium this year.

“It’s one of my goals and I was going to all the championships to win.

“Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but overall I’m happy with my season.

“I performed well and I’m still one of the best in the world, but it would be nice to finish on top.”

* The European Multisport Championships Munich 2022, including athletics, beach volleyball, canoe sprint, cycling, gymnastics, table tennis, triathlon, rowing, sport climbing, will take place from 11 to August 21 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games in Germany. town. Watch daily live coverage on BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website

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