Jake Wightman admits his tactical blunder might have cost him a shock European victory as the Capital prospect saw his dreams of gold float away in Amsterdam.
The 21-year-old looked on course for the mother of all upsets on Saturday night when he led the 1500 metres final as a mass sprint for home began with half a lap remaining.
But the Edinburgh AC product’s dreams turned to disaster as the field came bounding past – sliding to seventh in a time of 3:47.68, ending one place behind British team-mate Lee Emanuel.
And the result all but kills off his hopes of joining club-mate Chris O’Hare in the event at next month’s Olympic Games, ahead of tomorrow’s selection meeting.
“I thought I had got it right, but when 50 metres to go came and everyone started firing, I just thought I’d gone a bit too early,” Wightman said. “But I gave it a go to try and win it, so it’s just annoying because I feel like had I waited a bit longer to kick with everyone else I may have been in the mix.
“I’ll take it, but it’s just disappointing not to finish higher up but, with the way I ran it, I can’t complain too much as I went for it. I need to work on getting stronger at the end. Championship racing is hard. At the British Championships, Chris and Charlie Grice seemed a cut above the rest. Whereas here, it seems anyone could beat anyone. I’ll take a lot from that.”