'My voice has gone' - Scot Jake Wightman stuns World Athletics Championships to win gold as dad commentates
The look on Jake Wightman's face as he crossed the line at Hayward Field in Eugene to win Britain’s first gold at the World Athletics Championships said it all.
It was a mixture of shock and delight, as if he had just won the lottery.
Wightman, who grew up in Edinburgh and is a product of Edinburgh Athletics Club, strolled home to claim first place in the 1500m with a time of 3:29.23. A win that very few saw coming, the athlete booked on a flight a matter of hours after his race in Oregon.
It was made all the more impressive by the 28-year-old’s turn of pace to overtake and keep in front of Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway in the final 300m.
“I knew the odds were getting more into my favour the later in the race it went,” Wightman said. I felt strong but Jakob is a beast and I didn’t know if he was going to come past and there was no screen.
“I had some self belief that if I gave it a go and got past I’d probably get a silver but it never happened and I’m world champion.”
To make the feat all the more special, Wightman’s win was commentated on by his dad Geoff at Hayward Field.
“Jake Wightman has just had the run of his life,” he announced over the tannoy. “My voice has gone.
“That’s my son. I coach him. And he’s the world champion.”
‘Bit of a robot’
Wightman’s gold was Britain’s second medal after Scotland's Laura Muir won bronze in the women's 1500m. It was also Britain’s first world gold in the 1500m since Steve Cram in 1983.
“Dad can be a bit of a robot on the mic sometimes, some people say robot some say professional,” he said. “I hope he broke that down today. It will be interesting to watch it back. My mum was in tears, at least someone was crying.
“I didn’t hear him, hopefully that’s because he was a bit emotional. One of the first things he said was ‘get ready for Commies (Commonwealth Games) now’.
“I’m 28 now, I don’t know how many more opportunities I will get to do this and I hope there is a lot more to come. I need to make the most of it. It’s important to hit the milestone like this, seven, eight-year-old me would never have believed.
“There are so many people who have helped me get to this point. My dad has coached me since I was 14 or 15. Every club coach from Edinburgh, Loughborough Uni, British Athletics have all played a part. The main thing is to now thank everyone who has helped me.”
On a personal level, Wightman, who broke the Scottish record two years ago, bounced back after finishing tenth at the 2020 Olympics, having won Commonwealth and European bronze in 2018.
“I didn’t want to leave this race like in Tokyo where I didn’t give a true account of how I want to run and how I believe I could run,” he said.
“The important thing was to be at 200m strong. I thought ‘screw this, I’m going to give it a go’.
“Whatever happens in the rest of my career, I’m a world champion.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.