Wightman attacks lifting of drug ban
JAKE Wightman stood shoulder to shoulder with Laura Muir last night, insisting that Wada’s decision to lift the suspension of Russia’s anti-doping agency Rusada makes a mockery of the sport.
Muir, who was named the FPSG Athlete of the Year at a glitzy ceremony at the Hilton in Glasgow last night, is an outspoken critic of doping and Wightman, who has taken her lead in doubling up in the 800m and 1500m, agrees that re-admitting the Russian authority before they had met all the conditions originally set by Wada sends out the wrong message.
“My event personally is not that Russian-dominated, so I’m pretty lucky that it’s not directly affecting it. But I do think it makes a mockery of the sport a little bit and I think for the integrity of every athlete it needs to be known that they’re there doing the right thing,” Wightman said. “You want to assume that everyone is clean, but when there are nations who historically haven’t been clean, and potentially come back into the sport and are not clean still, it’s not very fair on the rest of us.
“But it doesn’t really make any difference as to how we approach the event. You still want to try to beat everybody there and I’m sure there are other athletes outside of Russia that you’re racing against that are doping as well.
“If you’ve been able to beat cheats or potential cheats in the past, then Russian athletes coming back in, it doesn’t mean they’re going be miles ahead. It just means that you’re going to have more of an incentive to try and beat them. You just have to train harder to be in better shape.”
Wightman said Muir, a silver and bronze medallist at the World Indoors in Birmingham and March, plus a European outdoor gold medallist in Berlin in September, continued to be an inspiration as the pair build towards their medals bids at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“I need to get a bit better to be the male equivalent of Laura, I think,” said Wightman. “But I think every Scottish and British athlete has seen Laura over the last few years progress and shown she can mix it with the world’s best and challenge for global medals,” Wightman said.
“And there’s nothing that makes her any different from us, she has been brought up with Scottish athletics, she still lives and trains in Scotland. I think her gutsiness and grit, which a lot of Scottish athletes possess, shows that if we get the right opportunities and some good training behind us we can try to do the same at champs.”