Mixed fortunes on opening day of Athletics in Tokyo

Jemma Reekie Olympics stroll

The opening day of athletics saw successful transitions for all the 800m women, but our 5000m women had a much tougher time in the heat of Tokyo. Ethiopian, Selemon Barega claimed the 10 000m gold to relieve Sir Mo Farah (handicap -7.5) of his 5-year title in a race that saw Marc Scott finish in 14th place.

It was a successful start for British women in the 800m heats with Keely Hodgkinson (handicap -2.8), Jemma Reekie (handicap -3.2) and Alex Bell (handicap -2.5) all advancing as reported by British Athletics.

Hodgkinson finished second in heat four with a time of 2:01.59, while Bell made it through on the strength of her time after finishing fourth in heat five with a time of 2:00.96.

“I was excited to get out there. I always hate first rounds, but I’m happy to get my place for tomorrow and I’m ready to give it a go,” said Hodgkinson.

“You can never predict how the races go but I definitely learned a few things in there, that’ll be the biggest stage I’ve ever performed on, so I’m just going to take it round by round.”

Meanwhile Reekie, also making her Olympic debut, cemented her place at the front of the field with an impressive 1:59.97.

She commented: “It wasn’t so much as laying down a marker with a win, it was just about getting through automatically and not having any issues.

“I’m glad to get that done. 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.”

Marc Scott (handicap -7.4) stayed in contact with the lead group till the final stages but the final 2km effort in 5:06 proved too fast for the British Champion, as he finished in 14th place. Sam Atkin (handicap -6.9) struggled and did not finish.

The highlight of the women’s 5000m heats was a PB for Amy-Eloise Markovc (handicap -2.6) with 15:03.22 with 9th place in heat two, just ahead of Eilish McColgan (handicap -3.5) who ran 15:09.68. This was maginally slower than Jess Judd (handicap -2.9) from heat one in 13th place.

It was a miserable day for the steeplechasers as Phil Norman (handicap -4.6)  finished 13th in heat one with a time of 8:46.57, whilst  Zak Seddon (handicap -5.4) came 14th in heat two with 8:43.29, having isolated on arrival in Tokyo.

The track highlight came from sprinter, Daryll Neita who became the second British woman to run 100m in under 11 seconds while Dina Asher-Smith, also qualified for the next round too. Neita set a personal best of 10.96 (into a 0.3 m/s headwind) to qualify sixth fastest overall for tomorrow’s semi-finals and finish second in a heat that saw Marie-Josee Ta Lou break the African record.