JEMMA REEKIE will dodge the snow and jet back to the warmth and sunshine of South Africa this week for the second leg of her their-summer-our-winter training camp.

The middle distance runner is an athlete transformed from 12 months ago when she was a virtual unknown outside of Scottish circles but now is one of the hottest prospects on the track with the likes of Sebastian Coe extolling her virtues.

A revamped summer allowed the 22-year-old to add a Diamond League victory on to her CV. The tally was speedily doubled. Previously, a majestic run of results saw her wrestle away three British records inside eight days, one an 800 metres in Glasgow which was the quickest by a woman indoors since 2006.

It kept Ayrshire’s young star atop the year’s world rankings for more than six months while she also ended the outdoor campaign inside the top 10 over 1500m.

Covid may have laid waste to so much but the delay it caused to the Olympic Games has squeezed the odds on a medal hanging around Reekie’s neck in Tokyo come August.

“In 2019, I was in Under-23 events quite a lot,” she said. “I got into more races in 2020, so I was able to practice racing more. The girls were such a high standard, they just pushed me in every race which was really good.

“I was really excited if the Olympics were going to happen last year. But I’m hopefully more ready for it in 2021. I can see more improvements already. And I’ll have got more confidence after just getting some more races done and learning more. So I’m excited.”

Even if the Paris Games of 2024 may be her intended peak, Reekie’s ascent still represents a dream well lived for someone who first set her sights on the target when she was just 10.

With the calendar for the forthcoming indoor season still under threat from constant Covid-imposed revisions, it is doubtful she will target March’s European Indoors in Torun where her training partner Laura Muir would have the option to defend the 1500 and 3000m titles she procured at the past two editions in Glasgow and Belgrade.

Yet even with their coach Andy Young on hand to steer them towards scaling the heights in Japan in the summer, Reekie – recently named British Athlete of the Year – admits the invite to move into Muir’s house during last year’s lockdown might have been the crucial difference between standing still and priceless progress.

“No matter what the session was, even if we couldn’t do circuits or get in the gym, we always had each other to push each other on,” Reekie said.

 “Laura is obviously amazing and world class. I knew I could push her and she could push me and that’s going to be a good outcome. And then just to have her there throughout the racing season was really nice. We push each other again there. I know if Laura’s in a race, it’s going to be high quality and it’s going to be hard.”