JAKE Wightman insists he’s ready to follow the lead of Capital club-mate Chris O’Hare and hunt down a 1500 metres place at this summer’s Olympic Games.
The former European junior champion gets a golden shot at landing the qualifying standard in tomorrow’s Diamond League showpiece in Birmingham with several of the world’s best providing his opposition.
O’Hare won’t be among them after the European bronze medallist opted to jet back to his Boston base following Thursday’s Golden Gala in Rome to get in extra training ahead of the British trials later this month.
But Wightman – who took victory in Norway the same night – claims watching his Edinburgh AC colleague in action is a lesson in how to attack.
“He’s done his programme in a different way, going through the American system,” the 21-year-old said. “But what I admire most about him is the way he races. He’s always competitive, even against the world’s best. He’s looking pretty set to secure his spot in the team for the Olympics. Then there’s Charlie Grice and the rest of us trying to join him. And I’d love to be up against him in Rio.”
The televised Birmingham meeting has attracted a healthy slice of athletics A-List with Lynsey Sharp getting a top-notch 800 metres test against world champion Marina Arzamasova and Central AC’s Andy Butchart taking on Mo Farah over 3000m.
For Wightman, it won’t come any tougher than three-time world gold medallist Asbel Kiprop but it’s not so simple to copy his approach, he admits.
“There’s one thing saying it but another thing doing it. When he can run 3:30 like it’s jogging, it’s easy. For the rest of us to do that would be a struggle. But what you can try to copy is finishing races like the Kenyans do, finishing strong. That’s what you aspire to do. If you can do that, hopefully the times will come.”
Guy Learmonth has backed out of a Diamond League outing against Olympic gold medallist David Rudisha over 600 metres – insisting his Rio ambitions in the 800m must take priority.
The Lasswade hopeful has yet to earn the two-lap qualifying standard in three outings this summer so far and he has opted to head to Switzerland over the Midlands.
“As much as I’d love to do the 600, I need 800s and I need quick times,” the European indoor finalist said. “So I’m racing in Bellinzona on Monday. It’s an obvious decision to make.”