Jake Wightman: From a running family with dreams of hitting the top

Wightman is the new world champion after his 1500m victory in Eugene.

By Press Association Published: 20 July 2022 - 12.46pm

Jake Wightman became a shock world champion after winning the 1500m in Eugene on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old stunned Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and, here, the PA news agency looks at his background.

Early ambitions

He runs for Edinburgh Athletic Club and in 2018 became the first Briton to run below one minute 45 seconds for 800m and three minutes 35 seconds for 1500m since Peter Elliott in 1991. Nottingham-born Wightman represents Scotland and has wanted to be an athlete from an early age. “From aged eight, I always said my dream job was to be a professional athlete, which I am lucky enough to be able to live out now,” he told the BBC.

Family affair

World Athletics Championships Oregon22 – Day Five – Eugene
Mum Susan and dad and coach Geoff celebrate with their son (Martin Rickett/PA)

Wightman, who studied Retailing, Marketing and Management at Loughborough University, comes from a running family with dad and coach Geoff and mum Susan both former athletes. He has a twin brother, Sam.
Geoff represented England in the marathon at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and also came sixth at the European Championships the same year. Mum Susan represented Team GB at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, coming 12th in the marathon. His aunt, Angela Tooby-Smith also ran in the 10,000m.

Biggest win

Wightman’s victory in Eugene on Tuesday was the biggest of his career and a significant improvement. He only came 10th at last year’s Olympics and was fifth at the World Championships in Doha three years ago. His biggest medals before Oregon were bronze in the 1500m at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2018. He came seventh at the European Championships in 2016 while he was also fourth in the 800m at the Commonwealth Games four years ago.

Rapid times

World Athletics Championships Oregon22 – Day Five – Eugene
Sir Mo Farah is the only Brit to run the 1500m quicker than Wightman (Martin Rickett/PA)

He has run quicker than Steve Cram, Steve Ovett and Lord Sebastian Coe in the 1500m. His new personal best and title-winning run of three minutes 29.23 in Eugene is the second fastest ever 1500m time by a Briton, with only Sir Mo Farah running faster. He has an indoor personal best at 1500m of three minutes 34.48 seconds.

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