If there were any doubts that Jemma Reekie is a legitimate medal contender at the Olympic Games, her impressive performance in the 800m heats at Tokyo 2020 quickly dispelled them. 

And perhaps more concerningly for her opponents, the Scot believes she can still get far better as the Games progress. 

On the opening morning of athletics action at the Olympic Stadium, Reekie blew out the cobwebs with a beautifully controlled run in the 800m heats – towards the front of the pack for most of the two laps before surging ahead of her opponents down the home straight. 

Her victorious time of 1:59.97 was the second-fastest of the morning, as the Team GB star and Jamaica’s Natoya Goule were the only women to dip under the two-minute mark.

The semi-finals on Saturday now await for North Ayrshire’s Reekie and the 23-year-old is targeting improvements despite breezing through round one in style, as she refused to overstate the importance of winning her heat. 

“That was good, I’m glad to get that done,” said Reekie. “It wasn’t quite as I would have liked, I didn’t quite do what I wanted but I’m through and that’s the main thing. 

“It was a little bit messy and I was a little bit all over the place but that’s job done now and I can aim at tomorrow. 

“It wasn’t so much laying down a marker with a win, it was just about getting through automatically and not having any issues – which I did.”

Reekie next races at 12.50pm BST on Saturday, as she looks to secure her spot in the 800m final on her Olympic debut. 

With no fans at most of the venues in Tokyo due to Covid protocols, the Games certainly has a different feel to previous Olympics. 

But Reekie says that the volunteer organisers at the Olympic Stadium are still doing everything they can to give the event a sense of gravitas and excitement despite the spectator-less environment. 

“It’s quite good because the volunteers are making it feel special,” she added. “They are clapping us coming out of call room and they’re just so happy to have us here, it feels like there are people here watching.”

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