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Jemma Reekie believes missing out on Olympic medal could be ‘a good thing’

Jemma Reekie finished just outside the medals in the Tokyo Olympics 800 metres final (Mike Egerton/PA).
Jemma Reekie finished just outside the medals in the Tokyo Olympics 800 metres final (Mike Egerton/PA).

Jemma Reekie believes her fourth-placed finish at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics could prove “the best thing” for her in the long run.

The 24-year-old fell agonisingly short of securing a medal in the 800 metres final that saw British team-mate Keely Hodgkinson claim silver.

Reekie said: “Keely deserved all the attention she got, she did an amazing performance. I feel like she deserved what she got.

Reekie in action in Tokyo (Mike Egeron/PA).
Jemma Reekie finished fourth in Tokyo (Mike Egerton/PA)

“To come fourth at an Olympics was hard, but I think I move on from things quite well. I was quite excited quite quickly after, thinking ‘OK, I’ve come fourth but what can I do now to do better?’

“I’ve looked at the positive side and changed a few things in my training. So now I’m like ‘OK, maybe it’s a good thing that’s happened’ and maybe it’s going to be the best thing that’s happened in the long run, to push me forward in the 800.

“I’ve started doing gym work, I’d never lifted weights other than circuits and stuff like that. I’ve been really focusing on speed work, adding more speed work in. So hopefully we see the benefit of that this summer.”

After a disrupted indoor season during which she had food poisoning and glandular fever, Reekie is confident she will be in good shape for the Diamond League meet that takes place in Birmingham on May 21.

That is set to see her race over 1500m against fellow Scot and training partner Laura Muir, the Olympic silver-medallist over the distance who has also made a recovery after missing the indoor season due to injury.

The summer ahead then features the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, sandwiched between World Championships in Eugene and European Championships in Munich.

Reekie – who has been recently training in South Africa and is currently in St Moritz with Muir – said: “It’s going to be a busy summer and hopefully I’ll be able to do all three.

“I’m excited, it’s three big opportunities to come out and perform well. I’ll probably do a couple of 1500s, but mostly focusing on the 800m.

“I just want to go out there, I want to perform. I think everyone knows I stand on that start line to go out and do my best and try to win the race.

“I really hope I can get as many medals as I can this summer and just go out and position well and learn. I feel like I learnt a lot from last year, so hopefully that will help me this year.”

Reekie said of the “amazing” Hodgkinson: “I think if you’re up there competing with her you’re at world-class level – it’s good to have her, to push us forward, and it’s good to push each other.”

The Tokyo 800m final was won by Athing Mu, and Reekie said: “She’s amazing, there’s no doubt about it – but nobody’s unbeatable. Keely was so close to her last year, and I’m sure athletes are going to step up now and try to beat her.

“There was a few races last year when I was probably the only athlete who tried to chase her down! I’ll try again this year and if you go out and compete with people like that, it’s only going to do you good.”

Keely Hodgkinson celebrates after claiming Olympic silver (Martin Rickett/PA).
Keely Hodgkinson won an Olympic silver medal last summer (Martin Rickett/PA)

Reekie has also spoken about Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, who is set to take part in the Vitality London 10,000 on Monday.

She said of the 39-year-old: “I think he’s taught a lot of athletes how these medals can be there.

“A lot of athletes have looked up to him throughout the years and he has shown that it is possible. To this day everyone looks to see how Mo is doing.

“I think Mo just loves running. That’s what he loves to do. I think it will be a sad day when we don’t see him at all, but he deserves a break when he wants one!”

:: The Muller Birmingham Diamond League takes place on Saturday 21 May and will see the world’s best in action at the newly renovated Alexander Stadium. Get your tickets at www.britishathletics.org.uk.