Silver for Jemma Reekie

When Jemma Reekie spoke to the British press last week, she shared that a year ago, she was broken and in a really bad place in the aftermath of the difficult events that led to her leaving her long-term coach. She shared how her new coach, Jon Bigg, had told her that he did not care what she achieved in 2023. He just wanted to see her happy and enjoying running again.

Reekie is from Scotland, and a World Indoor Championships in Glasgow a year into her new coaching setup could have been seen as an opportunity or a pressure. Reekie embraced it.  She won her prelim in 1:59.45. She won her semi-final in 1:58.28.  The final was a slow, tactical race finishing:

1 Tsige Duguma 2:01.90

2 Jemma Reeke 2:02.72

2 Noelie Yarigo 2:03.15

I suspect a faster race would have suited Jemma better, but she stuck to her task, and while she could not catch Duguma, she made sure no one else got past her. One could ask if Reekie might have been better to keep the race moving and run a 1:58, but I will leave the tactics to Jemma and Jon.

Tsigie Duguma, ETH, gives Ethiopia its first gold at 800m at a World Indoor. Jemma Reekie, UK, took the silver, and Noellie Yarigo, BEN, took the bronze, photo by Martin Bateman.

Reekie had the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics in her pocket until Raevyn Rogers came from nowhere to snatch third.  Reekie’s 1:56.90 left her 0.09 of a second from that medal.  Afterward, nothing went right, with long-lasting glandular issues followed by coaching issues that made life difficult, but she still managed to finish fifth in the 2023 World Champs at 1:57.72.

Reekie said of her Glasgow performance:

“It was a tough race. I knew those girls were going to throw something at me that they were confident with. They were just better than me. I stood on that track, wanting nothing other than to win, but it was my first senior medal. I made some mistakes, but I will learn something from it. It is unpredictable, but that is what is going to happen with all these great girls running so fast and more coming through. I wanted to walk away with that gold medal in front of a home crowd, but it is my first senior medal, so I’m not too disappointed at a home championship and to walk away with a silver medal coming second. If you had told me last year, I would have done that. I was in a really bad place this time last year, so to be doing this this time this year has been really good. This will be a good stepping stone forward towards Paris. I need some more races and some more experience before Paris”.

I liked how she clearly enjoyed it and was happy to celebrate the achievement, but she still wanted more. It was a good day for Jemma, but a World Indoors is light years from the Olympics.

Tsigie Duguma, ETH takes gold, Jemma Reekie, silver, photo by Martin Bateman