Leon Reid closed his Olympics in style in the semi-final of the men’s 200m in Tokyo on Tuesday, clocking 20.54 to finish seventh. That was just slightly down on the season’s best of 20.53 he ran to qualify in fifth from Tuesday’s heats. The race was won by Olympic silver medallist Andre de Grasse, who set a Canadian record of 19.73.
“It was tough, I just didn’t have the turnover I had this morning, so it was difficult. I haven’t raced back-to-back like that since nationals,” said Reid, who flew through the first 100 but couldn’t quite keep tabs on his rivals from there.
“That was the plan to pick up the first 50 and use that kick off the bend, but I didn’t quite have the kick, which was annoying. The time is decent enough, but honestly, I want to get quicker. I want to be around PB shape, which I am. It just hasn’t come off today.”
At what was his first Olympics, Reid reflected positively on the experience.
“It’s been surreal,” he says. “I can see all my friends from around the world, from Trinidad and South Africa and all that – it’s good to see friendly faces.”
With the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games all ahead next summer, the question for Reid was what he now needs to do to close the gap to the world’s fastest men.
“I need to just get race fit, work on the little things,” he said. “I had a jammed up ankle all year and I was racing on one leg, so now I can bounce on and go forward.”
He thanked everyone in Ireland, and at his base in Bath, for the goodwill that has flowed his way in recent weeks. “I had to turn my phone off when I got back to the hotel because everyone started waking up and the traction picked up,” he said. “It’s been amazing.”