It is proving to be the most sensational indoor season for Jemma Reekie and she continued her excellent start to the year by storming to a brilliant win in the 1500m in 4:04.07 against a world class field at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow on Saturday (15) afternoon.
In the space of eight days this year, Reekie has smashed the British 800m (1:57.91), 1500 (4:00.52) and mile (4:17.88) records and on her home track she showed the finishing speed which took her to an unprecedented 800/1500m double at the European U23 Championships last July.
Not until there was 120 metres to go did Reekie put the accelerator down, moving from fifth before running down Ethiopia’s 2016 world indoor silver medallist Dawit Seyaum (4:04.24) and Morocco’s Rababe Arafi (4:05.34) - both of whom have broken the four minute-barrier outdoors for 1500m.
It might not have been Reekie’s best tactical race but she slipped through on the inside on the back straight and timed her run to perfection, moving swiftly on to her outside to deliver her final kick and passing Seyaum with the finishing line in sight.
“I kept getting boxed and pushed in but I was patient and it is a good confidence booster knowing I can do that. I heard the crowd screaming and I knew I had to win it for them. I kept seeing people I recognised and it was so much more special.” said Reekie, a training partner of multiple European champion Laura Muir.
Muir was back racing on the track on which she successfully defended her European indoor 1500m and 3000m titles last March. This time she set herself the challenge of smashing the long-standing mark of 2:30.94 held by Mozambique’s Maria Mutola in the 1000m.
It was a tough ask and Muir fell off the pace on the last lap, winning in 2:33.45 before crumpling to the track in exhaustion. Her time, at the venue which staged the last European Athletics Indoor Championships barely 12 months ago, was still a world leading performance and has only been surpassed indoors by eight athletes - Muir included.
If Reekie is a new star on the European scene, her British teammate Jessie Knight is making a mark of her own too.
Knight started the 400m with an indoor personal best of 52.21 set in Linz last weekend but that is a time now consigned to history as she smashed it to win in 51.57 – and beat Poland’s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic in the process.
Swiety-Ersetic tops this year’s European list with 51.37 but Knight is now second behind the double European champion after moving to fifth on the UK all-time indoor list with this impressive performance on Glasgow's hydraulically-banked Mondotrack surface, with Swiety-Ersetic second in 51.68 and the Netherlands’ Lisanne de Witte third in 53.25.
Talay continues her resurgence in the 60m hurdles
It has been almost four years since Belarusian Alina Talay won the European indoor 60m hurdles title but she showed today she remains a force in the event.
With two barriers left, Talay was trailing the US pair of two-time world indoor champion Nia Ali and Christina Clemons but she was far from finished and snatched victory by the slimmest of margins. Talay and Ali were given the same time of 8.03 with Clemons on 8.04.
And for Talay, this was further proof that her ‘new’ coach is proving a success - because that is herself. “I have started to coach myself, it is a tough job but I am happy,” said Talay.
Andrew Pozzi will not have the chance to defend his world indoor 60m hurdles title with the championship being postponed this year but he continued his fine indoor season with another good win in 7.57. Reigning European indoor champion Milan Trajkovic from Cyprus was third in 7.72. “It was a good run, quite solid,” said Pozzi. “I am really happy with the work I have done this winter.”
Poland’s world indoor 800m champion Adam Kszczot timed his finish well to achieve one of his best wins of the winter.
The six-time European champion took control with 50 metres left to win in 1:46.34 after passing Kenya’s long-time leader Cornelius Tuwei, second in 1:46.52, with Britain’s Guy Learmonth third in 1:47.16.