Great Britain

Jemma Reekie's 'special kick' could take her to Olympic glory, predicts coach

Jemma Reekie has a “pretty special kick” – so devastating it could take her all the way to Olympic glory, her coach Andy Young has predicted.

The 21-year-old Reekie has been the sensation of the indoor season, smashing the British 800m, 1500m and mile records since the start of February. But on Saturday she showed another side of her ability, coming from behind to win a tactical race against a high-class 1500m field in Glasgow with a stunning 30.1sec last lap. Afterwards Young was effusive in his praise for his athlete – and her kick.

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “Not many people have that. I’ve not seen, well near enough anyone who’s got that kind of kick. She was probably at the biggest grand prix in the world – and on her home track – so to deliver that at the end of a tough two weeks, with a 30-second last lap, you don’t get much better than that.”

Young also praised Reekie’s growing tactical acumen, which allowed her to judge her race to perfection before breezing past the world indoor silver medallist, Dawit Seyaum. “She did it relatively flawlessly,” he said. “She kept on the inside, moved up when she needed to and had the energy to go, bang. There’s not much wrong with that.”

Young insisted he was not surprised that Reekie, who won European under‑23 middle-distance titles last summer, had made such a breakthrough after sorting out her diet and some health issues, including having a sinus operation in December.

“I saw it coming last summer over 800,” he said. “We’ve now sorted out her gluten intolerance and her sinus infections and had a good block of training. We’ve been working for four years on her technique,” he added. “It’s still not there yet but at least the legs are moving forward in the right direction. It all adds together.”

Reekie’s next race will be against a high-quality field in Lievin on Wednesday and she is then likely to skip the British indoor championships next week to start preparations for the summer.

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Young insisted that Reekie was a genuine Olympic contender over 800m – having run 1:57 indoors earlier this month, the fastest indoor time in the world since 2006.

“You’ve still got to remember she’s 21 and this will be her first Olympics,” he said. “But, if you can deliver that kind of performance and you can navigate heats and semis and get to the final and deliver a performance like that, it’s an exciting opportunity.”

On Saturday Reekie denied that her Nike prototype spikes were a factor in her recent improvement, saying it was a result of pushing her body “to the absolute limit”.

Meanwhile, Reekie’s training partner, Laura Muir, confirmed that she believes her Nike spikes are legal under recent new regulations set out by World Athletics.

However, the debate about shoe technology flared up again on Sunday when the Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei set a 5km road world record wearing a pair of Nike Vaporfly shoes.

Cheptegei, who won the world 10,000m title on the track in Doha last October, achieved his latest mark in Monaco in 12min 51sec to beat the previous best by 27 seconds.