Keely Hodgkinson has committed to defending her European title as she targets an all-conquering performance in Rome next month.

The 22-year-old Olympic medallist romped to gold at the European Athletics Championships in Munich two years ago and has an unquenchable appetite for more success in the Italian capital.

Hodgkinson set a new 400m personal best in Citta di Savona this month with a time of 51.61 seconds in her first race of the year.

Having already accrued 10 medals at major championships across senior, U23, U20 and U18 level, the Wigan-born middle distance ace has eyes on more European glory this year.

"I would like to win in my career as many medals as possible," she said, speaking exclusively to European Athletics’ brand new eight-part podcast Ignite.

"And I think if I was to miss it (Rome 2024), I’d be missing out on an opportunity.

“I’d love to look back on my career and say I did this many European Championships and I won this many medals. I don’t want anything to go to waste.

“I also have a title to defend. This could be second outdoor, but also fourth European title including indoors (Torun 2021 and Istanbul 2023).

“So that’s a really good aim for me now. It’s a perfect amount of time away from the Olympics and good chance to get some rounds practice."

Having not raced during the winter due to injury, Hodgkinson is keen to show off all the hours of hard work gone into getting back to her best off the track.

Coached by Jenny Meadows and Trevor Painter, the seasoned 800m sensation heads straight to the outdoor season with fresh legs as she looks to recreate some of her fondest Munich memories.

Hodgkinson struck gold in Germany at the end of a hectic championships season but still managed to revel in a raucous European atmosphere.

She said: “We’d already had the World Championship and the Commonwealth Games - being British - so we were definitely the most run down out of everyone.

"But, I remember thinking I was annoyed I got silver at the Commonwealth Games - I thought I was going to win that day. So, I was like ‘right, you’ve got to win this one.’

"Going into the final, I was quite excited. I really get up for a final. I think they are really fun.

“That’s the stage where you can really showcase the best of you. I remember going into it and thinking I want to run it a bit differently.

“Still coming away with the win, I think it’s a good experience to go though, knowing that going forward, I can run it a few different ways."

Hodgkinson will race at the Roma 2024 European Athletics Championships on 7-12 June, with the women’s 800m final taking place on Wednesday 12 June at the Stadio Olimpico.

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