Britain’s Jake Wightman emerges 1500m world champion in Oregon

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

Britain’s Jake Wightman has emerged as the new world champion of 1500m race after he edged Olympic champion and Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen to clinch the gold medal.

Wightman in 2018, won the Commonwealth and European bronze and broke the ‘Scottish record at a Diamond League meet’ in 2020.

The 28-year-old in a record of 3:29.23, ran past Ingebrigtsen who got 3:29.47 to beat the 2020 Tokyo Olympics champion while Mohamed Katir from Spain came third.

Unbelievable, the astonished British runner after he made history to defeat stronger contenders that included defending champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang of Kenya, said he had to shrug off the disappointing result in Tokyo last year before he ran the world record.

”It probably won’t [sink in] until I’ve retired. It’s mad,” Wightman said after winning gold in 1500m in Eugene.

“I had such a disappointing year in Tokyo last year. I don’t think people realize how crushing it was to go in with such high expectations and come away hoping for a medal but ending up with tenth.

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“I just knew, here, take the pressure off, the only thing that can happen is that it is a better run than last year,” he admitted.

From the start of the race, Ingebrigtsen took the ace and led the front line with the tactical Wightman saving his best charge for the last lapse.

Firm to his tactics, after realising that the race was left with about 200m to decide on the winner, Wightman surged forward and overtook the Olympic champion to lead a new 3:29.23 record time.

He said, “I just got a whiff of it on the last lap – I knew if I was there with 200 [metres] to go, I was going to do everything I could to put myself in a position to win it. I was just running for my life down the home straight.”

Geoff Wightman, the father of the world champion who was also a runner and an announcer in the stadium at Eugene, applauded his son’s feat echoing that it is the world champion.

“Running is coming home. Wow. That is my son and he is the world champion,” the world champion’s father said in Hayward Field.

The Trumpet reports that this feat achieved by Wightman is the first of Britain’s gold medal in the men’s 1500m race since Steve Cram ran 3 minutes 30 seconds at the 1983 World Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki.

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