Jemma Reekie hopes young Scottish athletes will be inspired by her Olympic exploits.
The Kilbarchan AAC athlete, who already has European U20 and European U23 titles to her name, came within nine hundredths of a second of the podium in Japan in the Women’s 800m final.
American athlete Raevyn Rogers came through in the closing stages to deny the young Scot third place and what would have been a precious bronze medal.
But despite being ‘hard on myself’ and determined to decorate her career with future medals, 23-year-old Jemma savoured the whole Olympic experience as a realisation of dream which began almost 15 years ago as she grew up in North Ayrshire.
‘If 10-year-old Jemma could see me now then I think I would be very happy,’ she smiled, in a special video interview for us with our Digital Comms Officer, Sue Gyford.
‘To be an Olympian is huge and something I always wanted. I stood on the start-line in Tokyo and was confident in myself that I could contest the medals. It is only in the last couple of years that I’ve started to feel that way.
‘When I was a kid, I wanted to get to the Olympics. I hope other young kids in athletics in Scotland will see what’s happened to me and relate to me. It is possible.’
Jemma all smiles after her semi-final progression to the final (photo by Garry Bowden: Sport in Pictures)
It was one week one from the Tokyo final when we spoke to Jemma and, understandably, her feelings remain bittersweet. She did, after all, clock a PB of 1:56.90 in the biggest race of her life.
‘I was hard on myself after the race,’ she said.
‘But I am pleased I went through the rounds and put together three strong races. It was my first Olympics and my first major event at 800m.
‘I am still hard on myself a week later but I have to accept that fourth place at the Olympics isn’t too bad. It is not a disaster!
‘I will look to the next one – the next race, the next championships, the next Olympics. My coach, Andy Young, and Laura (Muir) are very good at helping me with that challenge. That’s how we work ‘Right, what’s up next?’
‘Paris isn’t too far away and 2022 is shaping up as a big year with three major events. I look ahead to that and I am really excited by the prospect.’
AGE GROUP CHAMPS – ENTRIES CLOSE THURSDAY
Jemma took a moment while chatting to us to recall her own experiences at Scottish Age Group Champs events – with spaces still open for U20/U15/U13 athletes for Aberdeen on the weekend of August 28/29.
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"The scottishathletics Championships were my Olympics when I was growing up!" – here's Olympian @JemmaReekie on why you should get your entries for #4Jathletics Age Groups!
Great experience, great fun, THE event in the athletics calendar. Closes Thursday: https://t.co/PYfiGoUHhQ pic.twitter.com/OHDPym9O0p
— scottishathletics (@scotathletics) August 10, 2021