Jake Wightman’s stunning gold medal win at the World Championships has capped the perfect homecoming party for his athletics club in Edinburgh.
The Scot produced the performance of his life to beat Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen to the line in the men’s 1,500 metres in Eugene, Oregon on Wednesday morning.
His success came just hours after Edinburgh AC had moved back into their home at Meadowbank Stadium after a long absence due to a major refurbishment.
“We have been out of Meadowbank for four and a half years. We’ve been all across the city, we’ve had coaches working in parks.
“We just went back to Meadowbank last night and less than 24 hours later we’ve got a gold medal in a World Championships. I’m a bit excited!”
Wightman was born in Nottingham but his family moved to Scotland when he was 10. He joined the club as a teenager and has continued to represent them even after moving back south and having a schedule that now takes him around the world.
His time of three minutes 29.23 in Eugene was a lifetime best and the fastest time in the world this year.
“I don’t see him a lot but I am in touch with him regularly. I owe him a Mars bar every time he gets a PB. I’ve been doing that since he was a kid.
“He does occasionally say, ‘Remember you owe me that Mars bar!’. You can tell I was never the coach. I was always the team manager!”
Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr, another Edinburgh athlete, finished fifth in the same race.
Jones said: “It was difficult to know who to cheer for but it was a really exciting race, packed with inspirational athletes. It was great to see them both there.
“As we go back into Meadowbank, with new kids coming into the club and through the ranks, it’s an inspiration for them.
“Hopefully Jake will come up and show off the medal next time he is in town.”
Wightman’s triumph has also been celebrated at his old school, Stewart’s Melville College.
Anthony Simpson, principal of Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools, said: “We could not be prouder of Jake Wightman.
“What an inspiring reminder to every child that if you have a real passion for something and give it your all, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”
Wightman’s win has also delighted Scottish Athletics.
Head of performance Mark Pollard said: “Jake’s performance was outstanding and, in a race of real quality, he delivered his lifetime best 1,500m run at exactly the right moment to win.
“The support and excitement across the sport in Scotland, and beyond via our social channels, has been huge. It also followed on so soon from Laura Muir’s fine bronze in Oregon.
“Both athletes came right through the athletics ‘pathway’ in Scotland, which involves big input from clubs, volunteer coaches, schools, universities and then governing body support from both ourselves and UK Athletics, when they reach a certain level.
“It’s a massive collective effort – to put on cross-country events, to take young athletes to the London Mini Marathon, to facilitate training and competition opportunities. I think that’s why our community feels such a connection today and shares the moment.”