Jemma Reekie wins 800m silver after recovering from ‘a horrible place’

<span>Jemma Reekie up against Tsige Duguma in the 800m.</span><span>Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA</span>
Jemma Reekie up against Tsige Duguma in the 800m.Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

The nearly woman of British athletics finally has a medal around her neck. But while it wasn’t the colour Jemma Reekie had long wanted, it at least carried a silver lining.

Afterwards the 25-year-old Scot talked bravely about how physically and mentally broken she had felt last year, due to a debilitating bout of glandular fever and a split from her coach Andy Young. And while she had no answer in the 800m final to the blistering finish of Ethiopian Tsige Duguma, she at least could reflect on how far she had come.

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“I have kept it quiet, but I was in a horrible place,” she said. “So, if you had told me 12 months ago, I would walk away with a silver, I’d have been very happy. It has been an emotional year,” she added. “A lot of people don’t see behind the scenes of what wobbles I have had, even the past few weeks, the tough times. It’s taken an army to get me back to where I am today and I can’t thank them enough.”

Reekie had been the hot favourite going into the world indoor championships in Glasgow but it turned into a tactical race, where the athletes went through halfway in a dawdling 63.30sec. This played into the hands of Duguma, who used to be a 400m runner, and she flew home in 2:01:90, with Reekie nearly three-quarters of a second back.

“We’ve got to put a smile on and be happy,” Reekie said. “I made some big mistakes but it’s another lesson learned.”

There was a second British medal on the final night as the 4x400m women’s team of Laviai Nielsen, Lina Nielsen, Ama Pipi and Jessie Knight earned bronze in a national record 3:26.36. But there was no stopping a Netherlands team spearheaded by Femke Bol, who took gold ahead of the US.

Britain ended these championships with four medals. But for a time Britain’s Georgia Bell and Revée Walcott-Nolan threatened to add a fifth in the 1500m, before finishing fourth and sixth behind the Ethiopian winner Freweyni Hailu. Elsewhere, New Zealand’s Geordie Beamish sprung a major shock to win the men’s 1500m, powering home in lane four to pip the American Cole Hocker. Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis survived an early wobble in the pole vault to clear 6.05m to take yet another world title.

But the performance of the night came from Devynne Charlton, who took gold in the 60m hurdles in a world record of 7.65sec. For good measure it also earned her a $50,000 (£39,500) bonus.