IAAF president and two-time Olympic champion gives approval to Scotsman racing both 800m and 1500m at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
Seb Coe has lauded Jake Wightman’s decision to take on the 800m and 1500m double at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Speaking ahead of the 1500m final, which would see Wightman win his first senior major medal after a fourth-place finish in the 800m two days before, the two-time Olympic champion and IAAF president said: “I like the fact that he is prepared to double up. I wish more athletes doubled up.
“The 800m is not the event it used to be. I’m not even sure it is strictly an endurance event any more. The problem we’ve got is that as soon as you started reducing the number of rounds and giving loads of rest time in between, you took away the need to do the kind of training that allowed you to run the 1500m.
“I like the idea that he is doing the kind of training that allows him to run an 800m and 1500m. Where possible, I’ve always tried to free up the timetable to allow athletes to double up.
“The biggest inhibitor of athletes doing 800 and 1500s at the moment is the 800m runners are not conditioned well enough to run 1500m, and the 1500m runners don’t seem to do the type of work that is going to allow them to run a fast 800m,” he added. “I’m not sure that era is going to ever come back unless you make the 800m a lot tougher in terms of qualification and the number of rounds.”
Scotland’s Wightman had initially faced a programme of five races in as many days to do the double in Australia, but the removal of the 800m semi-finals made his task slightly easier.
“I was glad they took a round out of the 800m otherwise that 1500m final would have definitely been a different outcome,” Wightman said after his bronze medal win in 3:35.97.
“It’s definitely given me the confidence that I can double up in the future, which is something I want to do. That was my test this time around.”
Asked whether Wightman is more like him or Steve Ovett, Coe said: “He probably comes more from my end of the sport. Steve started out running 200m and 400m at English Schools where I was running 3kms and cross countries. I guess that Jake is more from my end of the spectrum.
“I think he has got the ability to do both. He is well conditioned and will be, because he goes to Loughborough!”