Wight­man at­tacks lift­ing of drug ban

The Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - BY STEW­ART FISHER

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.”

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