- Halimah Nakaayi defeated by 21-year-old in France
- Reekie’s second world indoor series win in five days
Jemma Reekie’s extraordinary start to the season continued with yet another victory – this time over 800m against the reigning world champion Halimah Nakaayi in Lievin, France.
It was the 21-year-old’s biggest scalp so far. And the way she did it, powering clear on the final lap to win in 2:00:34 – over a second and a half clear of Nakaayi, who had won gold in Doha just five months ago – yet again reinforced the impression that from almost nowhere she has become a medal contender at the Tokyo Olympics.
It was Reekie’s second world indoor series win in five days, having won the 1500m at the Glasgow Grand Prix on Saturday, and capped an indoor season where she has broken three British records.
Yet Reekie, a double European under-23 champion in Sweden last year, believes there is a lot more to come.
“It was a tough field out there – I would have liked to have gone a bit faster because I know what shape I’m in but I’ll take the win,” she said. “That’s the end of the indoor season. I’m going back into a heavy block of training to prepare for the summer. I will be back to work on Thursday and be off Friday.”
Reekie’s coach, Andy Young, who recently said he had rarely seen anyone with such a special kick, admitted he was surprised how easily she had won. “I was really impressed,” he said. “She looked way too in control – almost too comfortable. That’s the way to do it, if you can do it that way.
Earlier this month Reekie ran 1:57.91 for the 800m, the fastest indoors since 2006, but Young said her form was not a shock given how well she had trained over the winter.
“Her times over 800m didn’t desperately surprise me but to take on the best in the world and show them how it’s done, that’s something quite special,” he added. “We have been working on technique for some time. She’s had a much healthier winter – we’ve not had to deal with any issues. It’s a long-term project and we are just beginning to see the start of it.”