Jemma Reekie engaged in a little gladiatorial combat in Rome last night and duly put her rivals to the sword to conclude a remarkable 2020 campaign with victory at the Golden Gala meeting.

It was a second Diamond League triumph for the 22-year-old who saved her best for last with a sprint of pace and poise to win the 800 metres in 1:59.76 with training partner Laura Muir third.

A campaign that she began by claiming the UK indoor records over 800m, 1500m and the mile within eight glorious days in February has established Ayrshire’s young ace as a leader of the pack. And she was composed enough in the Italian capital to track Muir’s surge and then sweep past before holding off Norway’s Hedda Hynne in a concluding charge.

“My whole plan went out the window and I had to adapt and run to the best of my ability,” Reekie revealed. “But I’m happy to finish the season on a win. It’s been so good. It was just amazing to be out racing. And, hopefully, I’ll be heading to Tokyo next year. I just need to train really hard through the winter and get stronger and faster. I need to qualify first. I’m not going to get ahead of myself.

It has been an impressive year for Muir as well, who heads the 1500m world rankings and has been no slouch over 800m as well. This interrupted summer has left the European champion even better prepared to pursue an Olympic medal in Tokyo next year.

She has selflessly savoured how Reekie – with eight wins from 13 starts in 2020 - now carries equal billing in their double act, refined by their coach Andy Young. Even in coming up short in her own season-ender, she viewed more light than shade as a break looms. 

“I wasn’t in the best position at some points,” said the European champion, who clocked 2:00.49.  “Jemma and Hedda are both running very fast this year and have better personal bests than me. So to come third, as a 1500m runner, is still satisfying. It was messy but it’s nice it still went ok.

“I’m really happy. At the start, we didn’t know what races were going to have so I’m really happy we were able to get out and compete. And I got a world lead over 1500 with three sub-4 minute runs. I can be happy with that.”

Now to recuperate and regroup, albeit amid continued uncertainty where even Muir's beloved cross-country circuit is likely to be decimated and anything indoors will come with protocols in abundance. Whatever occurs, Milnathort’s marvel has a singular mission in mind. “Just to medal at the Olympics,” she said. “It’s a very big goal but one I’d only say if I think I can achieve it. It’s all about that now.”

Elsewhere in Rome, Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis set an outdoor pole vault world best by clearing 6.15 metres to complement the world record of 6.18m he established indoors in Glasgow in February.

There was a seventh victory in ten starts for Italy-based Andy Pozzi in the 110m hurdles in 13.15 secs while Karsten Warholm again fell just short in his quest to capture the world record in the 400m hurdles with the Norwegian winning his 19th consecutive race in a meeting record of 47.07 secs.

Among the other Brits, Rabah Yousif came fifth in the men’s 400m in 45.65 secs, Jessie Knight was sixth in the women’s 400m hurdles in 55.58 while Laviai Nielsen was seventh in the 400m in 52.45.