‘The pathway in Scotland deserves a lot of credit’ – World Champion Jake

Thursday 21st July 2022

Awesome in Oregon! Jake wins gold at Worlds to follow in footsteps of Cram

Jake Wightman bridged Scotland’s 31-year gap for a World Champion in athletics and then insisted the ‘pathway’ is clear.

The British champion won the Oregon Men’s 1500m showdown in sensational style with the best performance of his career only 24 hours after Laura Muir won bronze in the Women’s final.

Liz McColgan is the only other Scot to win gold at the Worlds, taking the 10,000m title in Tokyo back in 1991, but few would dispute that Jake is a ‘product’ of the existing structures in Scotland.

He raced at Scottish Schools and scottishathletics Age Group Champs on the track as well as competing in age group cross country and competed for Scotland at the London Mini Marathon. His most recent XC appearance was at Lanark last November!

Chris O’Hare was a huge figure in my career growing up at Edinburgh AC and seeing what he achieved showed what might be possible,’ said Jake.

Lynsey Sharp did good things around that time, as well, and then there’s Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie in recent years.

Josh (Kerr) won that Olympic medal last year and Neil (Gourley) is there, too. We have inspired each other.

Jake Wightman (top, left) with the Scotland U15 team for London Mini Marathon in 2009 (photo by Neil Renton)

BBC Scotland background profile

‘I think it shows that a lot of credit should go to Scottish Athletics for having that pathway. British Athletics have also been very supportive of me, too.

‘We have had so many athletes over the past few years pushing the standard of British athletics in my event. What Josh did last year was such a big thing for all of us.

‘It showed that you can be brought up in the Scottish and British system and get success.

‘I never gave up in my confidence to get to this point. I am so glad that I have been able to do what I have dreamed of since I was a kid. All the sacrifices up to this part are worth it.’

Commentating on your son’s World Champs win

Photo by James Rhodes

Dad Geoff is Jake’s coach and was in the stadium in his announcer’s role at Hayward Field.

Geoff also spoke to Stuart Weir on our behalf and he was also keen to mention the system in Scotland.

In fact, Geoff name-checked Mark Pollard, our Head of Performance, for supporting Jake recently and the role played by Mike Johnston, formerly Head of Endurance, in Jake’s early years.

It’s just as well he did, because the chances of Mark or Mike talking about it publicly are slim to zero . . .

‘Mark Pollard has been great supporting Jake and I want to highlight the work Mike Johnston did a number of years ago,’ said Geoff.

‘He gave Jake his first Scotland vests a number of years ago and that was key to his development.’

Jake told BBC Scotland: ‘I wasn’t amazing when I was 13, 14, 15 and I would probably have got swallowed up if I was in England, whereas coming from Scotland I was able to have enough success to keep me hungry.’

Tags: Geoff Wightman, Jake Wightman, Oregon, Oregon 2022, World Champs

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