Commonwealth Games: World champion Jake Wightman upstaged in bid for second gold of the summer

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

World 1500metre champion Jake Wightman failed to make it a golden double this summer amid a shock result in the Commonwealth Games on Saturday.

In a world-class field which included the men who finished second, third and fourth in the Olympic final last summer: Timothy Cheruiyot, Josh Kerr and Abel Kipsang, all were upstaged by Ollie Hoare.

The Australian timed his sprint to the line to perfection to win gold for the first time for his country over this distance at these Games since the great Herb Elliot in 1958.

Wightman, whose father Geoff was commentating on the race as he had done his world title win in Eugene, had to make do with the bronze with Kenya Cheruiyot with the silver.

“That was as good as I could have done,” said the recently crowned world champion. “I didn’t want to be a pedestrian and be running for minor medals. I wanted to make a statement but I didn’t feel anywhere near as good as I did a couple of weeks ago. I’m not buzzing but I am relieved.”

The novelty of being world champion marked Wightman as the pre-race favourite – odds-on with the bookmakers for a second gold in a little under three weeks.

In the build-up to the Games, he had toyed with foregoing this race but said the chance to compete for Team Scotland combined with the potential regret of not competing, pushed him into it. He also sought the advice of another past British athletics world champion Christine Ohuruogu, who said he had come from hunter to hunted, and that the rest of the field would be scrared for him.

In a race which could have been won by any number of different runners, the 28-year-old was undeniably the marked man and jostled physically for position going into the second lap in a hugely competitive field.

Cheruiyot and Kipsang set the pace from two-and-a-half laps to go while Wightman moved into third at the bell. As he had done at the Worlds he kicked early to take the lead with half a lap to go. This time, there wasn’t to be a repeat.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Whereas in his head-to-head with Jakob Ingebrigtsen he had enough in the tank to stay out front, he faded as first Cheruiyot passed him before Hoare timed his dip to perfection for gold, the Australian’s time of 3:30.12 a Games record.

Reflecting on the race, Wightman added: “I’d have hated running the 800m or not running at all and seeing that race go and thinking I would have loved to have been in it. I put it on the line. To hang on for a bronze I’m pleased with.

“I hope I don’t get shot down too much for not having won it being a world champion. But people don’t realise how high that world championships was, two weeks is nothing to have to reset. “

For Wightman, it was a last 1500m race of a packed season before he turns his attention to competing in British colours once more over the short distance of 800m at the upcoming European Championships.

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