Com­men­ta­tor’s voice cracks as his son wins a medal

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - Gor­don Wad­dell in Aus­tralia

“And it ’ s bronze for Scot­land…”

The an­nouncer’s voice cracked with emo­tion around the Car­rara Sta­dium as Jake Wight­man crossed the line.

Why wouldn’t it? When a fa­ther sees a son pull off one of the runs of his life to reach the podium in a race laced with gen­uine world class?

The 23- year- old stormed home be­hind Kenyan world No1 and 2 Eli­jah Manan­goi and Ti­mothy Cheruiyot to take Scot­land’s fourth ath­let­ics gong of the Games and their 42nd over­all, their first men’s 1500m medal in 40 years.

His was unique though, with dad Ge­off – who ran in the 1990 Games – do­ing the voiceover for the day of his dreams.

With mum Su­san and sis­ter Martha there hand­ing him his lap-of-hon­our, See-You-Jimmy hat, it was a full family

af­fair, and af­ter fourth in the 800m, Wight­man grinned: “My sis­ter’s gin­ger so I’m sur­prised this isn’t her ac­tual hair.

“There were so many Saltires around the crowd as well. It was great it wasn’t just an Aussie crowd.

“I didn’t know they were go­ing to give me the hat but if the op­por­tu­nity is there, why not put it on?

“I didn’t go full Mark Dry and put the kilt on – my legs can’t quite pull that off!

“The last 200 of the vic­tory lap was def­i­nitely my slow­est though. The crowd were great on that vic­tory lap.

It’s some­thing that, when I came away with fourth in the 800, you just leave the sta­dium and you’re treated like noth­ing, while this time you get to do your vic­tory lap, get your medal, have the medal cer­e­mony. I’m so glad to go home with some­thing to show from these champs.”

Asked if he’d heard his dad’s words as he crossed the line, he smiled: “There might have been a, ‘ To be fair the one time I thought he might have cracked would be now’. But he still kept his cool.

“He’s still com­men­tat­ing as we speak, so it hasn’t af­fected him too much but I hope he’s ec­static on the inside be­cause he’s put so much work in for me.

“Since the age of 13 or 14. This is def­i­nitely for him and ev­ery­thing he’s done. He does the think­ing for me and I just run. This is def­i­nitely more his medal than mine.” With the Kenyans look­ing for a 1-2-3, Wight­man poured on the pres­sure com­ing round the fi­nal bend.

With 200m to go, he took the rest of the field out of play down the back straight, fin­ish­ing a full sec­ond and a hal f ahead of four th- pl aced English­man Char­lie Grice.

John Rob­son was the last Scot to medal in the race in 1978 in Ed­mon­ton and Wight­man – the only Euro­pean to win a Di­a­mond League 1500 in a decade when he beat Manan­goi in Oslo last year – said: “It’s great to have a part in his­tory and hope­fully it starts the bal l roll ing for mid­dle- dis­tance run­ning again.

“Ev­ery­one knew the Kenyans were the class acts in the field so when they went, I was hop­ing I could pick them off in the fi­nal 200. But a medal was what I came to get so I’m ec­static to get that.

“I got away from Manan­goi once last year and I’d love to do it again. It’s funny, he men­tioned it to­day, said I’d smacked his a**e in Oslo!”

Mean­whi le, Eil ish McCol­gan re­vealed she didn’t even think she was go­ing to fin­ish the 5000m with four laps left.

The 27-year-old came in 21 se­conds be­hind win­ner Hellen Obiri in sixth, with Steph Twell back in 14th, but was dizzy as she left the track in sti­fling heat and hu­mid­ity. And she ad­mit­ted: “I still feel a bit strange right now.

“I train in heat so I’m used to it, but I don’t usu­ally feel like this af­ter a race. With four laps to go, I se­ri­ously thought, ‘ I don’ t

know if I’m go­ing to make it…’ Then I came back a bit to­wards the end, man­aged to plough through.

“It ’s an­noy­ing and frus­trat­ing be­cause I feel it can’t have gone any bet­ter, phys­i­cally, in train­ing. But again I’ve just fallen f lat when it comes to get­ting a medal.”

Scot­land’s 4x400 women’s re­lay squad – an­chored by Eilidh Doyle – broke the na­tional record in 3.29:18 but still trailed home in sixth place, while Nikki Man­son took sev­enth in the women’s high jump fi­nal.

Bel lshil l ’s Kirsty Gil­mour took bad­minton bronze to add to her Glas­gow sil­ver. The 24-year-old fought bravely against former world No1 Saina Ne­hwal in her semi-fi­nal, com­ing from eight points down to take the sec­ond set be­fore los­ing the de­cider 21-17.

FAST LADIES Eilidh Doyle, and left, Eil­ish McCol­gan FIGHTER Kirsty Gil­mour won bad­minton bronze

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