'Nowhere else I'd rather be' - Alex Bell heading home to Yorkshire after European Championships mixed feelings

Olympic finalist Alex Bell admitted to having mixed feelings as her European Championships campaign came to an end in Rome on Tuesday morning.

The 31-year-old from Leeds finished fourth in her semi-final while fellow Briton Keely Hodgkinson set the pace as the fastest qualifier for Wednesday’s final.

Bell clocked 2.00:57 in the 800m then revealed how a difficult build-up to the championships left her both proud of her achievement in making it this far and a little disappointed that she couldn’t make it through the final.

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"It felt like it was a long way off,” she admitted in a post-race interview with Athletics Weekly.

Missing out: Alex Bell of Great Britain reacts as she crosses the line fourth in the 800m semi-final in Rome. (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)Missing out: Alex Bell of Great Britain reacts as she crosses the line fourth in the 800m semi-final in Rome. (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Missing out: Alex Bell of Great Britain reacts as she crosses the line fourth in the 800m semi-final in Rome. (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

"I’m happy and disappointed at the same time, everyone strives to be a finalist but you have to take the good with the bad and the bad with the good sometimes.

"A few weeks ago I was at my lowest point and didn’t think I would be coming to these championships anyway so I can take a lot of positives from a negative performance, if that makes sense.”

Expanding on the problems she has encountered, the Pudsey and Bramley Athletics Club member added: “I’ve had loads of challenges, mainly mental rather than physical. I was in a confusing state and place but I’ve got a good team around me.

"First race of the season I had a fall.

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Catch me if you can: Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain wins her Women's 800m Semi Final on day five of the 26th European Athletics Championships (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)Catch me if you can: Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain wins her Women's 800m Semi Final on day five of the 26th European Athletics Championships (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Catch me if you can: Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain wins her Women's 800m Semi Final on day five of the 26th European Athletics Championships (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

"Even though I won the race it just triggered a lot of things going into the next race, so it’s been a rough start but I’m happy to have made it here.”

With Hodgkinson the favourite to win the European title tomorrow, and Scotland’s Erin Wallace running a faster time in her semi-final, despite also missing out, the path to a second Olympics is a difficult one for Bell.

She can at least return to the comfort zone of West Yorkshire to prepare for what will be a decisive British Championships and Olympic trials in Manchester on the weekend of June 29/30.

"The next one now is the British Championships so this has been great prep for that trying to do back-to-back rounds,” she said. “You can only try and find the positives in making another major championships.

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"The outcome of the trials will decide and dictate what I do for the rest of the season.

“I’ve got a great team in Yorkshire, a great set-up and fantastic support. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

On Monday night, Charlie Dobson and Molly Caudery boosted Great Britain’s medal tally in Rome.

Dobson clocked a personal best of 44.38 seconds to claim silver in the men’s 400 metres behind Belgium’s Alexander Doom, while Caudery won bronze in the women’s pole vault.

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Dobson was just pipped over a dramatic final 100 metres and admitted: “I gave it everything down the back straight.

“My legs were turning to jelly in the last 20 metres. I was just screaming at myself to keep striding. I got the job done and I am over the moon with it.”

Caudery added bronze to her recent world indoor gold behind Switzerland’s Angelica Moser and silver medallist Katerina Stefanidi of Greece.

Settling for third place after missing out at 4.83m, Caudery said: “I’m a little bit disappointed.

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“If I told myself a year ago I would be bronze medallist at the European Championships I would have been over the moon, and I have expectations of myself which are high.

“A bronze is still a great achievement, and I learned a lot tonight, but I would have liked to come away with a slightly higher height.”