© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

Seventeen-year-old Phoebe Gill from Great Britain broke the European Under-18 record of 1:59.65 set by East Germany’s Marion Geissler-Hübner 45 years ago. Gill raced in the heat at the Belfast Irish Milers Meet in Northern Ireland Saturday clocking a stunning 1:57.86. It is a personal best by nearly four seconds.

It is the second-fastest time in the world this year and she moves to eighth on the all-time British list.

For context

For context, Budapest World Athletics Champion, Mary Moraa, owns an 800-metre best of 1:56.03, which she set during the 2023 World Athletics Championships meet. The year prior, at the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships, she earned bronze going 1:56.71. Her best so far in 2024 is 1:57.91 from the Doha Diamond League on Friday, May 10.

By age 18, Moraa had only managed a hand-timed 2:08.3h.

Moraa has been dominating the 800m along with American Athing Mu and British runner Keely Hodgkinson.

Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Mu was running just 2:01.17 when she was age 17. Her personal best is now 1:54.97, the American record. Mu also won gold during the 2022 Eugene World Championships.

Hodgkinson has run as fast as 1:55.19, which is the British record. A few months after her 18th birthday, Hodgkinson was running 2:03.40. Hodgkinson finished second in the Tokyo Olympics, at both the Eugene and Budapest World Championships and the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Hodgkinson won both the 2021 and 2023 European Championships.

Paris bound?

Gill’s performance was a head-turner, to be sure.

Her performance moves her to sharing second place in this year’s world 800m rankings with only Ethiopia’s Tsige Duguma with her 1:57.73.

“I’m in shock because I was late for the race because I got the timings mixed up,” said a stunned Gill.

“Then I got out there a bit faster than the 58 [seconds] I was supposed to run on the first lap.

“I just kept pushing and in the end, I didn’t even clock that I’d done it. I thought I was dreaming,” added Gill.

Only Hodgkinson with her 1:55.88 at age 19 has run faster as a British U20 athlete.

The Paris Olympic standard is 1:59:30 and or be ranked top 48 globally. Currently, the 48th-ranked athlete is Cuban Rose Mary Almanza with a series of five 2023 performances ranging from 1:59.57 to 2:01.75.

Athletes may qualify in two ways for the Paris 2024 Games, with 50 per cent of qualification places based on achieving the entry standard for an event within the qualification period. The other 50 per cent is based on the World Athletics Ranking within the ranking period.

Each country can send three qualified athletes to the Games in each event male and female. Currently, there are six female British athletes ranked in the top 74, Gill is not one of them. Rankings will not be updated until Wednesday, the 15th of May. Gill, currently 154th, will move up dramatically.

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