Britain’s Jake Wightman has stormed to a superb world championship 1500m gold as he outkicked Olympic champion and hot favourite Jakob Ingebrigtsen on the final lap in Eugene with his proud father Geoff calling him home as the stadium announcer.
Wightman’s father and coach, used to the combination by now but never previously seeing such a victory, somehow kept his emotion in check as he called his son home on Tuesday.
But he did allow himself a moment to announce to the Hayward Field fans: “That’s my son and he’s world champion”.
On an emotional night all-round, Wightman celebrated the first world championship gold in the event for former middle-distance powerhouse Britain since Steve Cram – also in the stadium commentating for the BBC – in the first event in 1983.
He then received his gold medal from double Olympic 1500m champion and World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.
Wightman’s winning time of three minutes 29.23 seconds was the fastest in the world this year and underlined his pedigree. Norway’s Ingebrigtsen took silver, Spain’s Mohamed Katir was third and Australian Stewart McSweyn finished ninth.
Wightman has previously won European and Commonwealth bronze and only came 10th at last year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
“It probably won’t sink in until I have retired I don’t think,” he said.
“It’s mad. I had such a disappointing year in Tokyo last year. I don’t think people realise how crushing it was to go in with such high expectations and come away hoping for a medal but end up tenth.
“I have given up so much to get to this point and it makes everything worth it.”
His win broke a string of five straight world 1500 titles by the Kenyans.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos powered home to take the men’s 400m hurdles title.
The underdog even if he had the fastest time and No.1 ranking coming in, Dos Santos held off a decorated field to finish in a championship-record time of 46.29 seconds. Americans Rai Benjamin and Trevor Bassitt won the silver and bronze.
“The energy of the crowd was amazing. I felt their love, people hugging me,” he said.
“When you win, you start being everyone’s favourite. That’s pretty awesome to win the world title on this track.”
Olympic champion and world-record holder Karsten Warholm of Norway had been dealing with hamstring issues and wound up seventh.
In the men’s discuss final, Kristjan Ceh of Slovenia won gold in his first major championship, dethroning Sweden’s Olympic champion and 2019 winner Daniel Stahl.
The 23-year-old Ceh sent roars through Hayward Field as he rocketed a 71.13-metre third attempt across the lawn, clinching the top of podium in a championship record.
“I want to be the best,” the 206-centimetre tall titan said.
“I knew that I have the ability for the big throw.”
Lithuanian duo Mykolas Alekna and Andrius Gudzius finished with silver and bronze after producing throws of 69.27m and 67.55m, respectively.
With PA & AP.