Jake Wightman has been handed his senior British debut at next week’s European Championships in Amsterdam with the Capital prospect granted one final chance to propel himself into Olympic contention.
The 21-year-old 1500m runner was one of ten Scots named in a 98-strong squad for the event with several big names, including Edinburgh AC club-mates Lynsey Sharp and Chris O’Hare, opting to skip the event to focus on Rio.
It’s a gamble for Wightman who still needs a quick time to earn the Olympic standard but the chance of a championship outing was too good to resist.
“I went to the Commonwealths but I haven’t been to another major championships,” he said. “In 2014, I didn’t get to go to the Europeans in Zurich and if I’d been at that, I might not have been so desperate to go to this and be willing to sacrifice. But I don’t want to miss out on getting a GB vest at senior level for the first time.”
And the former European junior champion believes he can still join O’Hare on the starting line in Brazil after coming close to the time required on a number of occasions this summer.
“It’s been agonisingly close,” he said.” I feel a bit unfortunate to be in this position. But I feel the Euros will be an intriguing championship because a lot of people will be ducking it in favour of going to Rio. It could come down to a quick race in the final. And if I went, I’d be going to come back with a medal.”
As expected, Pitreavie’s Eilidh Doyle will not defend her 400m hurdles title in favour of running in the 4x400m relay but Greg Rutherford, Martyn Rooney,and Tiffany Porter will look for a repeat of their victories in Zurich in 2014.