Jemma Reekie fuelled by home crowd as she makes powerful World Indoors start in Glasgow

Scot stylishly cruises through heat to make semi-finals

Jemma Reekie is harnessing the power of the home crowd as she targets a place on the podium at the World Athletics Indoor Championships on Sunday.

The Kilbarchan-born athlete cruised through her 800m heat on Friday morning, clocking 1:59.45 to progress to Saturday’s semi-final as the fastest qualifier and send an early warning shot to her rivals in her own backyard. The 25-year-old received a rapturous applause from the Glaswegian crowd, who raised the decibel level at the sight of one of their own, and Reekie revealed revelling in running on home soil is a key part of her race-winning strategy.

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“I always like to get moving so I was actually quite happy that somebody took it on,” she said. “I just had to stay calm and relaxed and just run my own race and trust it would come back to me. It felt really comfortable, it felt smoother than running slow. I felt like I was controlling the race quite well and didn’t do my usual kick at the end just to hold it off until tomorrow as the semi-finals are going to be tough.

Jemma Reekie competes in the Women's 800 metres heats in Glasgow.Jemma Reekie competes in the Women's 800 metres heats in Glasgow.
Jemma Reekie competes in the Women's 800 metres heats in Glasgow.

“I have just really enjoyed it and learned to soak it all up and enjoy these championships. I don’t want to finish my career and say I didn’t enjoy it. I still put loads of pressure on myself, pressure comes from elsewhere as well, but I have learned to just have fun and enjoy it, and that’s when I run well. It was so nice when I stepped out onto the track and heard the crowd. I really enjoyed that moment.”

Reekie arrived in Glasgow fresh from posting the second-best time in the world this year at the UK Indoors a fortnight ago, as she powered to the British title in a championship record time of 1:58.24. She now heads into the weekend as one of the front runners as she eyes a maiden global medal, with her opening run in Glasgow over a second quicker than current world lead Habitam Alemu. It leaves the Scot in fine fettle not only for Sunday’s final should qualification be secured on Saturday, but also for this summer’s Olympics in Paris where she will be hoping to upgrade on her agonising fourth place in Tokyo.

“I don’t take anything for granted, just like I didn’t at the British champs,” she added. “It is a World Championships so everyone steps up. I kept my head focused and stayed relaxed and I was confident I would go through. This championships is a massive stepping stone for me. I can learn lots of things and try lots of things, and it is particularly important for me in an Olympic year.”

Reekie returns to the track at 12.10pm on Saturday, where she will hope to qualify for Sunday’s final, which is set to headline the final day of action at 9.20pm.

The world’s best athletes head to Scotland for the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24 from 1-3 March and you can keep up to date with the latest on the World Athletics website, its associated platforms and via broadcasters around the world.

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