2nd March 2024


Jemma Reekie’s (coach: Jon Bigg; club: Kilbarchan) pursuit of a maiden senior international medal was given yet another significant boost as she cruised into the final of the women’s 800m on the second morning of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

Reekie’s indoor season has been slowly building towards a shot at a very first major senior championship medal on her home track and it is now well within touching distance after she won the second of the 800m semi-finals in very comfortable fashion in 1:58.28 minutes.

That time was the quickest from the semi-finals and just 0.04 seconds shy of the mark Reekie posted to win the British title last month and become the second fastest in the world this year over the distance. The final now awaits in the closing session on Sunday.

Elsewhere David King (Tim O’Neil; City of Plymouth) was the other British qualifier as day two began in Glasgow, progressing automatically into the semi-finals of the men’s 60m hurdles after placing third in his heat in 7.64 seconds.

Reekie said: “It was perfect planning. I am in really good shape, and although I knew it was going to be really tough, I wanted them to know that if they are coming to win on my track, they are going to have to work hard.

“We have taken each race as it comes. I’ll sit down with Jon [Bigg] and Sally [Gunnell] and work it out together. I think it’ll be a fast one.”

Reekie, drawn in the second of the two women’s 800m semi-finals, accelerated at the cut in to sit in second behind Ethiopian Habitam Alemu before the pair were joined by world outdoor 800m champion from 2019 Halimah Nakaayi as the lead three.

The field remained exactly like that for much of the race with Reekie looking extremely strong, so strong that she chose to go wide down the home straight and pass a grimacing Alemu for the win in that very quick 1:58.28.

Meanwhile King was the first of the four British athletes in action on the second morning to take to track in the second of six heats in the men’s 60m hurdles ‒ and he set the standard as he made certain his progress to the semi-finals.

A sixth-place finisher in Belgrade two years ago, King ran a fine race on the coattails of France’s Wilhem Belocian and would maintain his form to the end to secure the final automatic qualifying spot with third in 7.64.

He said: “It was somewhat of a stacked heat so I am very happy to qualify and do what I was aiming to do. It felt like a good and solid run, and I hope to do a little bit better later on. Each competition I have done this year I have gotten faster in the next round. I feel good that I can hit a PB later on.”

Tade Ojora (Joanna Hayes; Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) would have been nervous for a moment as his first race at these Championships in the third heat of the men’s 60m hurdles was called back for a false start. It looked as if Poland’s Jakub Szymanski in the lane to Ojora’s right had false started but only a yellow card was produced.

Upon the restart, Ojora powered out of the blocks but didn’t clear the first hurdle well enough which meant the rest of the race ‒ and his bid for the top three and automatic qualification ‒ was a struggle.

He finished fifth in 7.78 to be forced into a wait to see if he would be one of the six fastest non-automatic qualifiers into the semi-finals but unfortunately for the UK champion he would miss out.

Ojora said: “I just didn’t get out very well. First couple of steps were fine, the last two steps I think I sat back and dropped over the hurdle. I didn’t keep my hips high which resulted in me hitting the inside of my trail leg. I’m disappointed.”

Meanwhile British champion Amy Hunt (Marco Airale; Charnwood) produced a solid run in the heats of the women’s 60m but a finish of fifth in a time of 7.29 meant she did not advance to the semi-finals.

She said: “It was crazy when they said my name; I was prepared for it but it was crazy to hear that noise and it was such a special moment. The 60m doesn’t really allow you any time to think, so even now I can’t remember much about it.

“One of the things we have been working on this season has been my initial first few steps and the reaction time. I spent so much time away with my tendon rupture a couple of years ago, it is about getting back into the races and the blocks.

“I think it went OK but my coach probably has a few things to reflect on. I just think I wasn’t super patient with it. When you run the 60m it has to be perfect, and unfortunately it wasn’t quite there.”