World champion Jake Wightman out of defending his title in Budapest next month
After sustaining a freak injury to his foot in January during a gym session in South Africa, Jake Wightman’s recovery has not been straightforward and the 28-year-old says he has “run out of time” and is out for the summer.
This means he will be unable to defend his world 1500m title in Budapest in August just 12 months after claiming gold ahead of Jakob Ingebrigtsen at the World Championships in Eugene.
Wightman sustained the injury to the right foot when landing awkwardly doing plyometrics. He spent five weeks in a protective boot and missed the indoor season, but kept fit cross-training and then eased back into running in the spring.
But further injury-related complications have hindered his progress and he has been forced to withdraw from a number of races in recent weeks. He did not have to battle for World Championships qualification by running the UK Championships in Manchester this weekend because he already has a “wild card” entry to Budapest as a reigning champion.
But nevertheless he feels time has run out for him to get fit for the biggest event of the year and he is now looking at a return to running in late August with his sights set on 2024 instead.
“As a result of my injury, I’ve had to deal with several more set backs as I prepared to race this Summer,” he said on Instagram.
“I’ve always felt as though time has been on my side to overcome my problems fully, however it has finally run out. This means I’m sadly going to be unable to compete at Worlds which has been really gutting to come to terms with.”
Wightman, who was also one of the biggest attractions due to compete at the Diamond League in London on July 23, has had to watch in frustration this season as ten men from eight different countries have run inside 3:30 for 1500m so far this summer, led by Ingebrigtsen’s European record of 3:27.95 at the Bislett Games.
He added: “Although I’m very disappointed not be able to try and defend my title, my focus has to be on getting my body rested and ready for 2024, to ensure I’ll be back performing at my best. The are some risks I could’ve taken to be on that Budapest start line, however the potential to jeopardise my Olympic year makes this the obvious decision.
“I’m currently taking some down time before starting my rehab, ready to be back running safely and pain free by the end of August. Big thanks to all my team and British Athletics who have worked really hard to try and give me every chance of competing. I’ll see you back on the start line soon.”
posted Wednesday July 5th
by Jason Henderson