Jemma after the Women’s semi-final at the Olympics (photo by Garry Bowden)
Jemma Reekie was five seconds off the pace when Scotland picked a team for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
In fact, the then 17-year-old was just outside the top five in terms of the Scottish rankings for U20 800m as six athletes headed halfway round the world to Samoa.
The disappointment came barely 12 months after she had watched Team Scotland from the Hampden stands, with Lynsey Sharp claiming a superb silver medal on the track in an 800m final she almost missed through illness.
All of it was motivation and inspiration for the Kilbarchan AAC youngster Jemma who, eight years on, was among our pre-selected athletes for Birmingham 2022 after her fourth place finish at the Olympics last summer.
‘When I was a teenager, I missed out on competing for Scotland in the Commonwealth Youth Games,’ Jemma told us recently in a video interview at the Alexander Stadium at the Diamond League meeting.
‘It was a target I was aiming for at that time and it was a big disappointment at that time. Ever since I’ve been telling myself ‘I need to make the Commonwealths’.
‘So I am sure it is going to be a big thrill and great honour to wear the Team Scotland vest in Birmingham 2022 and it is something I am really looking forward to.
‘Again, looking back over the years, I was at Hampden in 2014 to watch the athletics.
‘It was the first real major event I had attended and it helped motivate me more to try and do well in the sport. I was there supporting in the stands with my family.’
Jemma bounced back from a tough outing in Eugene with a fine run in Poland last weekend. A second place finish in 1:58.44 was a strong Season’s Best and gave her qualifying marks for the World Champs, Commonwealths and the European Champs.
Adding fuel to the fire for Birmingham are events in Tokyo last summer . . .
‘Going so close to the medals at the Olympics is making me push myself harder,’ said Jemma.
‘It was something I thought about during the winter when you are working away in training.
‘I am up there competing with those girls at 800m every year now and it drives me. I just need a little extra edge and hopefully that will happen this summer.
‘I love the new Alexander Stadium – it’s brilliant and I’m sure the atmosphere at the Commonwealths is going to be special.’
Glasgow 2014 at Hampden delivered a memorable athletics programme (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Track & Field