Athletics News

Jake Wightman runner-up to Hobbs Kessler in track comeback

Jake Wightman runner-up to Hobbs Kessler in track comeback

The 2022 world 1500m champion enjoyed his first race since January 2023 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston

After missing most of last year due to injury, Jake Wightman returned to racing on Sunday (Feb 4) over 1500m at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. He didn’t mark his comeback with a win but his 3:33.66 behind Hobbs Kessler of the United States was an indoor PB and places him third on the UK all-time rankings.

Wightman, who stormed to victory in the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, lost contact with Kessler with two laps to go but rallied with a 54.4 final 400m to finish on the American’s heels.

The 20-year-old Kessler, who won the world road mile title in Latvia in October, clocked 3:33.66.

Wightman said: “After coming back into racing it felt a bit weird. It’s been a while but it’s good to be back. I was hoping to get the win and the (Olympic) standard today and I got neither but you have to start somewhere.

“I didn’t really feel in control of that race. I never got into the places that I wanted to. When Hobbs made his move I couldn’t go with him. So today wasn’t how I imagined it going but it’s a solid enough start.”

Wightman’s last race came on January 8 last year when he was pipped to victory by Phil Sesemann over 3000m at the BMC Sheffield Indoor Grand Prix. Soon after that a freak foot injury doing plyometric work set off a chain reaction of issues which meant he was unable to defend that world title in Budapest. He will now head to Australia to compete at the Maurie Plant Meeting in Melbourne on February 15 in search of an Olympic qualifying time.

Noah Lyles (John Nepolitan)

Elsewhere at this World Indoor Tour Gold meeting, Noah Lyles, the world 100m, 200m and 4x100m champion from the United States ran 6.44 to beat Maurice Greene’s long-standing meeting record of 6.45 in the men’s 60m. One of his upcoming goals is the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow next month too.

“I knew that my first 10 metres are always going to be kind of sluggish, but so long as I’m next to everybody, I don’t care,” said Lyles. “All I was thinking about was winning. That’s all that matters. My confidence has now sky rocketed. Let’s go get a world indoor medal.”

Marco Arop was attacking the world indoor record of 2:14.20 set by Ayanleh Souleiman in 2016. The Canadian, who won the world 800m title last summer, fell short but his 2:14.74 was a North American record and the second fastest time in…

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