JAKE Wightman revealed last night that he was stunned at landing a place in Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s 74-strong squad for next month’s European Championships in Zurich.
The European junior champion was an unexpected choice to join world finalist Chris O’Hare in the 1,500 metres with the pair among seven Scots who are Switzerland-bound.
Scottish pole vault record holder Jax Thoirs, 21, will also make his major championship debut with defending 800m champion Lynsey Sharp already guaranteed a place along with Laura Muir (1,500m), Beth Potter (10,000m) and Eilidh Child (400m hurdles). But Wightman, who smashed his personal best in last weekend’s Diamond League in Glasgow, admits it will take a few days for his inclusion to sink in.
“I was shocked to get the call,” the 20-year-old said. “This time last week, I’d have never expected to be going. But I had a few missed calls yesterday when I finished training and I called them back to get the news. It’s going to be an incredible month with Glasgow and Zurich. I just hope it won’t be too exhausting. But they’re pretty different kinds of challenges and two weeks between them should be enough to recover.”
O’Hare, sidelined recently with a hamstring injury, proved his fitness in finishing one spot ahead of Wightman at Hampden and the long-time friends, both competing for Edinburgh AC, will now get a first European crack in tandem.
“Meadowbank raised us well,” Wightman, now ranked ninth in Europe, said. “Scottish middle-distance running’s really on the up now and especially in the east. When I was growing up, the west coast was dominant so it’s kind of fun we’re on top now.”
There was no place for Scottish high jumper Ray Bobrownicki, who earned the qualifying mark of 2.28m last Sunday, or for steeplechaser Eilish McColgan, despite a personal appeal centring on the toughness of the standard which was unchanged from the Olympic Games. “We have talked with Eilish about that before,” revealed UK Athletics performance director Neil Black. “We all understand that Eilish has got lots of talent and potential for the future. She’s had some problems with minor illness which have interfered a bit. She’s making progress. But she hasn’t made the standard so far. We talked about it but, applying consistent criteria, we just didn’t feel it was appropriate to open a window for Eilish to have another opportunity for selection.”
James Dasaolu has been handed the third and final 100 metres spot. The 26-year-old south Londoner will join Dwain Chambers and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, who qualified by finishing first and second at the trials in Birmingham in June.
It means no individual berth for British No 1 Chijindu Ujah, who will have to be content with a place in the 4x100m relay squad despite clocking 9.96secs this season. Joining Dasaolu in the squad will be former world champion Dai Greene who has been selected to compete in the 400m hurdles despite failing to achieve the required qualifying time.
Reigning world champion Christine Ohuruogu will contest the women’s 400m, while Mo Farah will go for another double in the 5,000m and 10,000m despite a recent struggle with illness. Rising heptathlon star Katarina Johnson-Thompson will focus solely on the long jump while fellow heptathlete Morgan Lake will contest the high jump.
As well as Wightman, a further seven athletes will make their senior international debuts including former world youth silver medallist Alison Leonard in the women’s 800m.
Black added: “The fact that there were so many tough selection choices reflects on the depth and strength we have in some events this summer.
“There is an expectation for members of this team to be winning medals or challenging hard at the top end in their finals, with youngsters coming through from junior ranks and our experienced medallists performing as strongly as they have in previous years.”
100m: Harry Aikines-Aryeetey; Dwain Chambers; James Dasaolu
200m: James Ellington; Adam Gemili; Daniel Talbot
400m: Matthew Hudson-Smith; Martyn Rooney ; Conrad Williams
800m: Andrew Osagie; Michael Rimmer
1,500m: Charlie Grice; Chris O’Hare; Jake Wightman
5,000m: Mo Farah; Tom Farrell; Andy Vernon
10,000m: Mo Farah; Chris Thompson; Andy Vernon
3,000mSC: James Wilkinson
110mH: William Sharman; Lawrence Clarke; Andy Turner
400mH: Niall Flannery; Tom Burton; Dai Greene
High Jump: Chris Baker
Long Jump: JJ Jegede; Greg Rutherford; Chris Tomlinson
Triple Jump: Phillips Idowu; Julian Reid
Pole Vault: Steve Lewis; Luke Cutts; Jax Thoirs
Decathlon: Ashley Bryant
20k Walk: Tom Bosworth
4 x 100m: Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Dwain Chambers, James Dasaolu, James Ellington, Daniel Talbot, Adam Gemili, Richard Kilty, Chinjindu Ujah
4 x 400m: Michael Bingham, Matthew Hudson-Smith, Nigel Levine, Martyn Rooney, Conrad Williams, Rabah Yousif
100m: Asha Philip; Ashleigh Nelson; Desiree Henry
200m: Dina Asher-Smith, Bianca Williams, Jodie Williams
400m: Christine Ohuruogu
800m: Jessica Judd, Alison Leonard, Lynsey Sharp
1,500m: Hannah England, Laura Muir, Laura Weightman
5,000m: Julia Bleasdale, Emelia Gorecka, Jo Pavey
10,000m: Jo Pavey, Beth Potter, Julia Bleasdale
100mH: Tiffany Porter
400mH: Meghan Beesley, Eilidh Child
High Jump: Morgan Lake
Long Jump: Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Shara Proctor
Hammer Throw: Sophie Hitchon
Javelin: Goldie Sayers
4 x 100m: Louise Bloor, Desiree Henry, Ashleigh Nelson, Anyika Onuora, Sophie Papps, Asha Philip, Bianca Williams, Jodie Williams
4 x 400m: Margaret Adeoye, Eilidh Child, Shana Cox, Kelly Massey, Emily Diamond, Christine Ohuruogu, Victoria Ohuruogu, Jodie Williams.