15th June 2017
WONDERFUL WIGHTMAN WINS IN OSLO
Oslo is often seen as the spiritual home of middle distance running, and on Thursday night Jake Wightman (coach: Geoff Wightman) added his name to the list of famous British winners. In years gone by the likes of Seb Coe and Steve Ovett have scored victories and set world records in the Norwegian capital, more recently Laura Muir bagging a metric mile victory.
Where these performances have been somewhat expected, Wightman’s run was quite the contrary, the young Scot kicking away from a world class field round the final bend before holding on for a famous victory. The former European Junior champion not only bagged the biggest win of his career to date, but a new personal best of 3.34.17.
An elated Wightman commented on his instant feelings afterwards:
“Shock; I only got in the race on Monday and felt pretty lucky to be in it. I knew a PB was on the cards but I thought they would run away from me. When it got to 200m to go and I was still in it, I thought I’d better try to win it. I managed to pull away but was scared that someone might catch me.
“My race plan was to start off pretty settled because I knew if they went off hard they would come back. I am usually quite strong on the last lap so I put all my money on that – to come through on the last 300m. I felt pretty good on the home straight so I just about got away with it.
On being watched by Lord Seb Coe and Steve Cram, he added:
“I have known Steve for some time as his son went to my school – perhaps since I was 13, but Seb Coe is a massive, massive idol of mine. If he were ever to say a compliment about me it would mean a lot. Hopefully I impressed him tonight.”
Wightman’s teammate Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg) also had a strong running, posting a time of 3.37.78 for sixth.
Fresh from his first Diamond League victory in Rome, Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Dodoo) equalled his season best set in the Italian capital, his 10.02 (+0.2) run seeing him finish a close second to Andre De Grasse, who stopped the clock in 10.01. Adam Gemili (Rana Reider) finished in fourth clocking a time of 10.13, with Reece Prescod (Dodoo) rounding out the British trio in eighth with 10.20.
Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) also finished a fine second in the men’s 400m in a season’s best time of 45.16 from lane seven, not far behind winner Baboloki Thebe who stopped the clock at 44.95. Meanwhile in the women’s 800m Lynsey Sharp (Terrance Mahon) also improved her season’s best to 2.00.41, to cross the line in eighth place in a strong race won by South Africa’s Caster Semenya.
Hudson-Smith said: “I am just getting into fitness now and trying to get consistency. I tried something new tonight – taking it out – and I paid the price in the home straight. My coach has told me to keep committing and by the time of the British championships, I will be ready. I just wanted to try it out, to be ready for when it matters at the World Championships in London. Going out fast is a change because usually I come storming home. I am really happy and am just going to keep doing it, get used to it and work on my speed.”
Following a controversial start by birthday girl Dafne Schippers, the women’s 200m got away cleanly at the second time of asking, with Schippers pulling away down the home straight to take the win in a time of 22.31 (+1.4). A post-race disqualification for Ivet Lalova-Collio moved British representative Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) up the standings into fifth place with her time of 23.38. In the women’s 100m Hurdles, won by Germany’s Pamela Dutkiewicz, Tiffany Porter (Jeff Porter) crossed the line in fifth place with a 12.93 clocking.
In the field, three British women contested the Long Jump, with Shara Proctor (Reider) coming out on top in fourth place. After a slow start, Proctor’s best distance of 6.53m came in the fifth round propelling her above Lorraine Ugen’s (Shawn Jackson) furthest effort of 6.50m. Jazmin Sawyers (Kelly Sotherton) struggled to get a valid mark on the board, with two fouls preceding her third round jump 6.20m to leave her in 10th place.
The men’s high jump competition saw only Mutaz Essa Barshim clear 2.32m, with Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) finishing down in seventh with a jump of 2.25m.
Full results can be found here: https://oslo.diamondleague.com/en/programme-results/programme-2017/