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Jemma Reekie has hailed the influence of Kelly Holmes on her career so far but admits she is out to shatter the double Olympic champion’s British record as she makes her bid for stardom.
The 23-year-old runs in the 800 metres heats on the first day of the athletics in Tokyo on Friday.
Reekie ran one minute 56.96 seconds, the third fastest 800m in British history behind Holmes and Laura Muir, in Monaco earlier this month.
Holmes, who won 800m and 1500m gold in Athens in 2004, clocked the British record of one minute 56.21 seconds over the shorter distance in 1995, but Reekie wants to make her own mark in the record books in Tokyo as she chases her first major senior medal.
“Yeah, it’s been on my mind for the past two years,” she said, with Keely Hodgkinson and Alex Bell also in the 800m. “It’s something I would really love to break, but you have got to respect how well she has done as well.
“She was an amazing athlete. It’s definitely on my mind but it’s going to be hard work to get it.
“I’ve definitely chatted to her over the past year and when I came into the senior rankings and ran fast. Before that I wasn’t even doing 800m, but it’s been really nice to have her support. I really respect her and look up to her as well, so it’s been amazing.
“She is very supportive of me, I can’t remember anything in particular but she has been chatting to me the past wee while.”
Reekie was just six years old when Holmes, who had already claimed 800m bronze in Sydney, won double gold in Greece but has studied the races and admits she has always been an athletics nut.
She said: “The first Olympics I remember was London 2012 but I’ve watched Kelly’s races back and learned a lot from her.
“She has done a lot of races but I watch a lot of others as well, I’ve watched every distance race from London 2012, from 800m to 10k, male and female.
“I love watching athletics and I’m always trying to learn. I’m always trying to guess what people’s strengths are and if they have gone too early, too late. I’m trying to learn as much as I can, especially ahead of this year.”
The Scot, who trains with Muir, also believes all the British hopefuls have a chance of making the podium if they reach Tuesday’s final.
She added: “All the British girls should be aiming to reach the podium, Alex, Keely and myself. We are all up there and we could all do it. Everyone on the startline deservers to be up there, it’s just about who can do it on the day.”