Louie Hinchliffe books Olympic spot by winning 100m UK Athletics title

On the plan: Louie Hinchcliffe (Getty Images)
On the plan: Louie Hinchcliffe (Getty Images)

Louie Hinchcliffe booked his spot at the Paris Olympics as he won the 100metre title at the UK Athletics Championships in a time of 10.18seconds.

In his last appearance at these championships two years ago, he failed to make it out of the heats.

Disillusioned with sprinting, he toyed with walking away from the sport altogether before relocating to the University of Houston some nine months ago.

Under the tutelage of nine-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis, he has gone from an also ran to Britain’s quickest man.

Hinchliffe had been virtually unheard of before his breakthrough season in the United States in 2024 when he became the first European to win the NCAA 100m title.

Branded a “special talent” by British sprint coach Darren Campbell, despite training in the heat in the States he made light work of dire weather come this 100m final, admitting afterwards he was accustomed to it having grown up in Sheffield.

Afterwards, Hinchliffe said: “It’s kind of surreal. I can’t really believe it because a couple of months ago no one really knew me. I’ve been working for two years now and it’s what I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid.”

Jeremiah Azu finished second behind Hinchliffe to effectively book his place in Paris where they will be joined in the 100m by Zharnel Hughes, who was given a medicalexemption to miss these championships with a hamstring injury.

Keely Hodgkinson (Getty Images)
Keely Hodgkinson (Getty Images)

Dina Asher-Smith opted to miss the 100m to focus on the 200m on Sunday instead. In her absence, Daryll Neita, who will go head to head with Asher-Smith over the 200m, won the sprint title.

Josh Kerr had to forego his trademark sunglasses in the heats of the 800metres after being rushed to the start line without them.

The 1500m world champion has worn them for every race since the 2022 World Championships and admitted it was an unsettling build-up as he dropped down to the shorter distance.

After doing enough to make Saturday’s final, he said: “I went to the bathroom before I went out and started to go back in to get my shades and my water and they said no, you need to get on the line now.

“I will get them on for another sunny day tomorrow! I have a couple of pairs. It was a bit weird. I don't like people looking in my eyes.

Like Kerr, Keely Hodgkinson tried her hand at a different distance, dropping down from the 800m to the 400m and qualified sixth fastest for Sunday’s final. And she has set her sights on a place in the British 4x400m relay team at the Paris Olympics.

She said: “That is an aim for me. Sixth fastest, that’s where I’m ranked in the country right now. So, if I can get in that top six maybe I’ve got a good chance.

“It’ll just be really fun to be a part of. I’ve never done one. If I’m good enough I’d like the opportunity just to be a part of a team and see what that’s like.”