Jake Wightman eases into Commonwealth Games 1500m final as world champion status finally sinks in
It's just 17 days since Wightman claimed 1500m gold in Oregon and he admits emotions have been spinning ever since.
But it was back to business in Birmingham as he won his heat to advance to Saturday's showpiece final, a high-quality highlight of the athletics programme here.
“It’s so cool to be announced as world champion, I never really thought of it until it happened but it's a real confidence boost," said Wightman.
“It was even nice just walking out around the bend, just to have the people clapping and saying well done and good luck to me, it’s special.
"That’s definitely the most it’s sunk in since it happened, I thought ‘yeah I've actually done that’."
While some events at these Games lack star sparkle, that cannot be said of the 1500m, with Kenya's former world champion Timothy Cheruiyot among those snapping at Wightman's heels.
Half of the 12-strong final field will be from Great Britain, with Australia's Oliver Hoare the quickest qualifier.
Joining Wightman will be Scotland team-mates Josh Kerr and Neil Gourley, England's Elliot Giles and Matthew Stonier and Wales's Jake Heyward, an Olympic finalist 12 months ago in Tokyo.
Eilish McColgan's stunning 10,000m gold medal was still the talk of Alexander Stadium yesterday with Wightman admitting it left him feeling emotional.
There are few more popular athletics in British athletics than McColgan, whose career has too often been a story of injuries and medal near misses.
“It’s so inspiring. I was shocked by it, I know she was in good shape as we were in Colorado Springs at the same time but she’s had a few rough weeks," added Wightman.
“Her Eugene performances were probably not as she wanted. I don’t think people realise how hard that must have been to turn round to run as she did."
Elsewhere, Beth Dobbin admitted she also had an 'Eilish bounce' as she progressed through her 200m heat comfortably.
"I was not going to watch Eilish but I couldn't do it," she said.
"It was so emotional, I was crying my eyes out because I know how much she has been through. To finish sixth at three Commonwealth Games, which are four years apart, and then to bounce back and finally win is almost unheard of. She works so hard and it's just a testament to never giving up."
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