British student Louie Hinchcliffe lands 100m Olympics spot – with help from Carl Lewis

Louie Hinchliffe celebrates/British student Louie Hinchcliffe lands Olympics spot – with help from Carl Lewis

Louie Hinchliffe celebrates winning the British men’s 100m title, ahead of Jeremiah Azu – Getty Images/Michael Steele

British student Louie Hinchliffe has completed his unlikely journey from messaging Carl Lewis last year “can you fix me” to attending the University of Houston and now qualifying for the Olympics.

After running 9.95sec and becoming the first European to win the American collegiate title earlier this month, the 21-year-old comfortably sprinted to the British 100m title on Saturday to secure one of the two automatic Olympic qualifying places, alongside Jeremiah Azu.

The third place is likely to be taken by World Championship bronze medallist Zharnel Hughes, who was granted a medical exemption to miss the trials after recent injury.

Under the watchful eye in Manchester of Lewis, Hinchliffe’s winning time of 10.16sec was limited by the wet and windy weather conditions but a winning margin 0.07sec over Azu – who has himself broken 10 seconds this year – suggested that he could push with Hughes for a place in the Olympic final.

Lewis, the legendary nine-time Olympic champion, said the “sky is the limit” for Hinchliffe, who he believes will eventually stand comparison with his old rival Linford Christie as one of Britain’s greatest-ever sprinters.

“Going to the Olympics will mean everything,” said Hinchliffe, who was born in Sheffield and studied previously at the University of Lancaster. “It’s what I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid.”

Keely Hodgkinson, meanwhile, qualified for Sunday’s 400m final where she is hoping to persuade selectors to include her in the Olympic 4x400m relay team. She will not run in her specialist 800m distance at the trials after already being guaranteed an Olympic place following her World Championship silver last year.

Her chances of winning Olympic gold were majorly boosted last week when reigning champion Athing Mu missed out on a place in Paris due to a fall at the American Olympic trials. Hodgkinson said that she was disappointed not to be racing against her big rival in Paris.

“I was actually gutted,” she said. “It’s just a shame to have that opportunity taken away from you for something so unfortunate. Paris won’t be the same without her.”

Fresh from setting a new British record in the pole vault, Molly Caudery also signalled her medal potential with a winning clearance of 4.83m on day one of the British Championship.

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