Jake Wightman today vowed to hunt down a major championship medal after flying home from the Commonwealth Games with 1500 metres bronze.
The Capital star was among Scotland’s stars of the closing weekend as Gold Coast 2018 came to a close yesterday, bouncing back from coming fourth in the 800m to follow home Kenyan duo Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheriuyot.
It rounded off a great Games on a high, the 23-year-old said. But now he’s hungry for more, starting with the summer’s European Championships.
“It feels like a step forward,” said Wightman. “My championship performances have let me down a little bit, especially at World indoors – and outdoors last summer. I knew that whatever happened, this 1500 from 800 was a step forward for me. The medal was just the icing on the cake for me. It’s great to bring one home.”
Chris O’Hare struggled to eighth place with the double European medallist admitting his recent foot problems had knocked his build-up a little too far off track to perform at his best. But he insisted his Edinburgh club-mate deserved all the plaudits for his brilliant run.
“Jake and I are good pals. He’s had a hell of a championships. I was maxing out with 200 to go. I could see him getting there and I knew he was going to hold onto it. I’m delighted for him.
“The good thing about this sport is that whoever is better prepared for the championship wins the medals. Unfortunately, in the last three months, I’ve not been able to prepare as efficiently as it hoped and it showed.”
O’Hare will bounce back, said Wightman, who will return to action in the forthcoming Westminster Mile before heading Stateside to prepare for the summer.
“Chris has brought this event forward, especially in Edinburgh. It’s certainly brought me forward, seeing what Chris has done. Same for (fellow Edinburgh AC runner) Josh Kerr, I’m sure. He’s definitely got a lot more left in the sport and he’s had a rough ride coming into these. I definitely don’t think he’s out – he’ll be dangerous come Europeans in the summer.”
Following her disappointing semi-final exit in the 800m, there was no medal for Lynsey Sharp in the 4x400m relay but some redemption as the squad, which also included Eilidh Doyle, Kirsten McAslan and Zoey Clark, set a Scottish record in coming sixth. But Sharp said: “I got the baton in no-man’s land so that didn’t help but I wanted to leave it all out there. It was a quick turnaround. I was really grateful I had this opportunity to go out again. I won’t make any excuses. It had its challenges. I said that leading into it. I thought we’d managed to address that in training. But there is only so much training we could do and it doesn’t always come down to that.
“But I can obviously take the positives away from that. Worst-case, running 2:08 in April is not the worst place I’ve ever been so I can take the positives away from that.”
Scotland’s team ended with a record tally from an overseas Games of 44 medals – good enough for eighth in the overall table – with swimmer Duncan Scott carrying the flag in the closing ceremony and East Lothian bowler Alex Marshall among the other competitors leaving with multiple medals.
And Wightman added: “It’s been a positive experience. What they’ve done for us has been great. The camp was sheltered away, we could get on with it. And then coming into the Village, it allowed us to put in some good performances.
“People picked people up when they were down. And cheered each other when they did well. Last time in Glasgow, I was injured and it wasn’t a great experience. I’m coming away from here with a lot of pluses which will help me for the summer.”