Leigh's Keely Hodgkinson in prime position for Tuesday's 800m final

Jemma Reekie dismissed any extra pressure as the spotlight turned on her to deliver for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics - after qualifying for Tuesday's 800m final behind Leigh's Keely Hodgkinson.

Sunday, 1st August 2021, 11:53 am
Updated Sunday, 1st August 2021, 11:56 am
Keely Hodgkinson

Team GB's chances at the Olympic Stadium suffered a damaging blow after Dina Asher-Smith pulled out of the 200m and revealed she suffered a serious hamstring injury last month.

She failed to reach the 100m final - won by Elaine Thompson-Herah in 10.61 seconds on Saturday - and broke down in tears as she explained she nearly did not make it to Tokyo.

Asher-Smith was expected to challenge for both the 100m and 200m, but Reekie insisted there is still no more weight on her to claim a maiden senior medal and help salvage British hopes on the track.

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She said: "I don't feel pressure from anyone else, I put a lot of pressure on myself and I expect a lot from myself. I'm quite hard on myself, I just want to do well. I don't feel pressure from elsewhere.

"I was watching every sport and every time someone gets a medal, no matter the sport, it lifts all the athletes.

"British 800 metres running is amazing right now and I'm so excited looking ahead. I definitely think the British girls can do well in the final.

"I stand on the start line to try to win it and I'll do the same again. If I come away with a medal I'll be really happy."

Reekie came second in her semi-final in one minute 59.77 seconds with Hodgkinson winning her semi-final while Alex Bell finished third in her semi but still qualified faster than her team-mates in 1.58.83 minutes.

"It was a really good race, I executed it well, listened to my coach and I'm looking forward to the final," said Reekie.

"I'm really confident and that's come from the training I've done in the last few weeks in the holding camp. I know I'm in amazing shape but it's an Olympic final, I've got to race it smart.

"I'm not under-23s any more, I can't afford to make mistakes. I'll just do my best and hopefully come away with a medal."

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