Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Jemma Reekie, Dina Asher-Smith safely into semi-finals

Scotland’s Jemma Reekie is safely through to the semi-finals of the 800m after the 23-year-old was one of just two athletes to finish her heat in under two minutes.

Jemma Reekie competes in the Women's 800m heats at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo
Jemma Reekie competes in the Women's 800m heats at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

She was joined in the semis by team-mates Keely Hodgkinson and Alex Bell.

Reekie impressed in heat six, seeing off a late challenge from Finland’s Sara Kuivisto before holding off Ajeé Wilson of the USA at the death to finish in a time of 1:59:97.

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Jamaica’s Natoya Goule was the only other runner to post a sub-two minute result, winning her heat in 1:59:83.

Hodgkinson finished second in heat four, running a time of 2:01:59 and being beaten only by Team USA’s Raevyn Rogers while Bell produced a strong finish to come fourth in heat five in 2:00:96 and qualify as one of the fastest losers.

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Reekie and Goule will battle it out in the first semi-final, taking place on Saturday at 12.50pm BST, with Wilson joining them along with Poland’s Joanna Jóźwik, who finished third in her heat.

Bell will come up against Kuivisto and American Athing Mu, who won her heat, with Hodgkinson facing stiff competition from Rogers and Déborah Rodríguez, who won gold in this year’s South American Championships.

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Asher-Smith, Neita, Philip all through

In the 100m, Dina Asher-Smith’s bid to become the first British woman to win an individual Olympics sprint gold continues after she easily advanced to the semi-finals from the 100m heats.

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The 25-year-old finished behind America’s Teahna Daniels but qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals with a t ime of 11.07 seconds, with GB colleagues Daryll Neita and Asha Philip joining her.

Asher-Smith is the fastest British woman in history, a four-time European champion and Olympic bronze medallist who is the current world champion over the 200-metre distance.

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She faces stiff opposition in her pursuit of gold, however, with Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah who have won the past three Olympic 100m titles between them.

Fraser-Pryce won gold in 2008 and 2012 and last month set a new world record with a time of 10.63 seconds at a national trials warm-up event, while Thompson-Herah will be looking to retain her 2016 title.

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Asher-Smith finished 11th fastest in the heats with the two Jamaicans and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare all posting quicker times.

She will run in the first 100m semi-final against Thompson-Herah and Okagbare at 11.15am BST on Saturday.

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Philip will come up against Côte d'Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou in her semi-final while Neita has Fraser-Pryce in her semi-final as well as Daniels.

Speaking afterwards Asher-Smith said: “It felt good to be out here and to finally get going, and it's just great to finally get my Olympics under way.

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"I was just thinking about making it through to the next round safely, and at the same time knowing I've got another level to give.

"I am really happy. And I do have another level – of course I do, it's an Olympics."

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Elsewhere, high jumper Tom Gale reached the men's final with a season's best of 2.28m in his first Olympics appearance.

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