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Jake Wightman recalls the European Championship

Jake Wightman recalls the European Championship

Jake Wightman competed in three outdoor  Championships in 2022. At the Worlds in July, he took gold in the 1,500 meters, at the Commonwealth Games in early August, Jake took third in the 1,500 meters, holding the lead until the last fifty meters, and in the European Championships, Jake took silver in the 800 meters. Stuart Weir wrote this piece on the last championship of 2022 about Jake Wightman’s battle over 800 meters and what it suggests for Jake’s future competitions in global championships. 

Jake Wightman recalls the European Championship

After unexpectedly winning the World Championship in Oregon at 1500m and then coming third in the Commonwealth Championships, again at 1500, Jake still had the European Championships in Munich to go. This time there was no choice to make; he was always going to run the 800m.  “That was the plan.  It could have looked as if I was trying to duck running against Jakob in the 1500 but I had always planned that so I ran the 800 at Birmingham [UK trials] to try to justify my selection.  But I wasn’t sure that I’d done it because Birmingham wasn’t quick but I had beaten one or two of the Brits, head-to-head.  And I thought that I had shown in the 1500 that I could go over to champs and compete.  It was a relief to be picked because I probably wouldn’t have gone to the Europeans for the 1500.  By the Commies, I was sick of running 1500s so I probably wouldn’t have the length of the season I did.  But running 800 was a new lease of life for me.  I think only Laura Muir and Neil Gourley did 1500 at three champs.  That is so hard to do – three champs at 1500, only a week apart.  Mentally it is so hard, seven or eight races over the same distance”.

The start of the 2022 European Athletics Men’s 800m final, photo by European Athletics

The 800m at the European Championships in the 1972 Olympic stadium in Munich required 3 races in four days. He won his heat in 1:45.94. He qualified for the final by running 1:46.61 for second place in the semi-final but was none too impressed with his performance

“We watched the first semi and I think it was slow so we knew what he needed to do but everyone had seen it and everyone was wanting to do the same thing and wanting the same positions.  It was horrible and I think that both I and Ben Pattison put ourselves in bad positions with 200 to go and had to do a lot more work than we should’ve had to.  You get away with that at…

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