Jake Wightman can’t believe he’s gone half-way around the world but still has his father’s voice ringing in his ears as he prepares to enter the stage at the Commonwealth Games.
The Capital prospect, 23, below, starts in the 800 metres heats tonight with his hopes of pulling out a double in the 1500m later this week, while getting a boost when one round was ditched due to a lack of entries.
It will be father Geoff who’s calling the shots inside Carrara Stadium after organisers flew him over to be the MC for the athletics events.
And Jake said: “I couldn’t believe that an English-speaking nation don’t want an Aussie accent in an Australian competition but they’ve heard that his banter is very good so they’re bringing him over – that’s what he would probably say.
“But it’s good to have him there, as my coach as well as my dad, because he’s always in the hotel before, so I can always speak to him.
“When you’re near the front finishers in races and he actually speaks about you, especially at the end, some of the stuff he says. . . like, he jokes around, which always, I think, means that he’s pleased enough from my run.
“Whereas before I’d be dreading seeing him afterwards because he wouldn’t have said anything about me during the race, and then all the stuff he’d probably say to me after wouldn’t be good. The better I run, the more it’s nice to hear his reaction to it, so he can speak a bit more about me.”
He’ll be joined by Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth in the 800m with the European indoor finalist declaring himself “fit and ready” following the foot problem that’s dogged his Games build-up.
But while Learmonth has flown out his coach Henry Gray to help him with his final preparations, Wightman says having his father in tow has got him in prime shape to put in what could be a breakthrough performance here, even if the way they work has completely evolved.
And he added: “The older I’ve got, the less of a dad he needs to be, and the more of a coach I need him to be.
“Obviously I don’t live with him now, so it’s not like he goes on too much about anything else apart from athletics.
“I probably question more than I would, and he might say some deeper stuff than he should when he goes back. It’s awfully good and I can’t really ask for a better coaching setup.”