Jake Wightman on Olympic ‘redemption’ and world 1500m title


Jake Wightman
Jake Wightman was the first British man to win the world 1500m title since Steve Cram in 1983

Jake Wightman has had little time to savour the best year of his career and the Scottish runner is already targeting the defence of his world 1500m title and Olympic redemption.

He will also run in more 800m races after his European silver this summer.

But all roads lead to Paris 2024 as the 28-year-old looks to make up for his 10th place in the Tokyo Olympics 1500m.

“For me to have a very disappointing Tokyo, it’s definitely a good opportunity for redemption,” he said.

“Hopefully I can give that a shot in 2024, because that’s a big, big focus for me now over the next years.”

In a hectic conclusion to the season, Wightman – who was born in Nottingham but raised in Scotland – picked up a 1500m bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in between his World gold and European silver.

“It couldn’t have really gone much better,” he told BBC Scotland. “I would have loved being able to win at the Commonwealths and Europeans, but that’s getting greedy by that point.

“It was always tough, having the Worlds first, coming back and then racing in the Commonwealths so soon and then Europeans so soon after that – to manage all three.

“It was always the aim to go to all three and try and do as well as we can at each, but it’s definitely a season to remember for me and one that is by far the most successful I’ve ever had.

“But I hope I’ve still got many years left in the sport to be able to try and be even better than I have been this past year, because there’s still a lot more I’d love to achieve.”

With that in mind, London-based Wightman will soon head to warm-weather winter training in Arizona then South Africa.

“To defend my world title would be great next year – that’s what everything is looking forward to now,” he said.

“And racing 800m more – I did a bit of that this year, and I enjoyed it, and I’d love to still do more of that.

“So it’s all about trying to get to Budapest, which is our world championships again next year, and giving them my best job of defending that title.”

Wightman said it was “extra special” to have been named Scotland’s top athlete considering the successes on the track of Laura Muir and Eilish McColgan, both of whom he said “would have been very deserving winners”.

He said their successes and those of other Scottish athletes had acted as “a snowball effect”, inspiring one another to replicate their achievements or go one better.

There was a “pretty special” family double at the Scottish athletics awards, with father Geoff picking up the coach of the year accolade having not only steered his son to success but ‘talked’ him there as the stadium announcer as Wightman won the world title.

“I don’t reckon there are many other situations in sport where that’s happened,” he added.

“He choose to do the 1500m, where he could easily have let his co-commentator do it and not have to worry about the stress of me racing.

“But I think he does it with the hope of something like this happening and the fact it has is double special because he was part of that moment for me as well. It’s pretty special and unique. So that’s something that I will always remember and kind of treasure.”

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