Jemma Reekie confident ahead of European 1500m – AW

    The British middle-distance athlete eased her way through to the 1500m final in Rome on Sunday night

    It is the first day of the European Championships and the British athletes have already made a strong start with an impressive group of eight qualifiers.

    One of those Brits was World Indoor 800m silver medallist, Jemma Reekie, who led a British sweep into the women’s 1500m final, joined by Georgia Bell and Katie Snowden.

    The Brit took a comfortable lead as she pulled away from Esther Guerrero of Spain in the closing stages before easing down with the win easily secured. She clocked 4:06.88 – the quickest overall into the final after a slower second heat.

    She told AW: “It wasn’t really part of the plan but I ended up on the inside and I didn’t want to be there so I ended up at the front.

    “I felt a few clips from behind so I just thought: ‘lets get this moving,’ and I knew I was strong enough to get to the end.”

    Jemma Reekie (Getty)

    It isn’t often we see Reekie competing in the 1500m as she decided to switch gears in Rome from her usual 800m races.

    Her silver medal win at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow earlier this year was a standout achievement alone. While her GB team-mate Keely Hodgkinson gears up to defend her European title in the 800m this weekend, Reekie has opted for the change as a “training effect.”

    “We had done three days in a row of 800s in Glasgow and we knew that it would be another three days again at the Europeans,” says Reekie. “I wanted to get another 1500m in because I always do well when I drop back to the 800s.

    “I might have got a better result in the 800m but when I come back down to the 800s I always seem to progress so it is more of a training effect.

    “My 1500m training has came on a lot which I did not expect. I think you can’t do anything better than practice championships and coming here and practising heats and going through rounds, and recovery, why would I miss a championships?”

    Jemma Reekie (Dan Vernon)

    While she appeared relaxed and in top from during the 1500m this morning, she has no plans to compete in the event at the Olympics. “It’s going to be hard enough to do my own event, never mind two!” she says.

    Instead, she aims to return to her comfort zone and vie for a spot on 800m team at the Paris Olympics.

    Despite the agonising fourth place finish in the Tokyo 800m final (1:56.90), she remains hopeful for a podium finish this time round.

    Reekie will compete at the British Championships on June 29-30 in the hopes to secure her spot.

    Jemma Reekie (Dan Vernon)

    “The rounds are always tough at the British Championships, you’ve got to be running sub-two now and there is probably a lot of us that can run sub-two.

    “You have got to be on it in those heats so I will just be sticking to the 800m for that reason.

    “I’m still quite a bit off where I want to be in Paris but I have been doing sessions straight after races and heavy training so I am happy where I am right now in the season.

    “I know how much more we have to give but it’s not just quite time yet, hopefully I will time it well for Paris.”

    While the Olympics will undoubtedly bring its share of nerves, Reekie confesses that walking down the aisle next year will likely surpass it in anxiety.

    Amongst the hard training and competitions she has gone through this year, she has also been occupied with another role – working as her own wedding planner.

    After getting engaged towards the end of last year, she is now in full swing planning her own Scottish wedding.

    “The wedding will definitely be more nerve-wracking,” says Reekie. “When I go into a race, it is comfort because it is what I have done since I was nine years-old.

    “I am somebody that loves racing and I love being in the championship environment.

    “I’ve basically booked the whole thing [the wedding] already. I am somebody who likes to be organised and it has been so much fun to have something outside of training and racing to think about.

    “It has always been a dream of mine to have a wedding so I basically already had it booked in my head before it actually happened.”

    Weddings aside, this weekend her main focus will be aiming for that European title as she will face the likes of Ireland’s Ciara Mageean.

    The women’s 1500m final takes place on Sunday night (June 9) at 9:40pm.

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