The reigning world 1,500m champion, Jake Wightman, will not be at the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Budapest to defend his title, due to an ongoing foot injury from earlier this year.
Expressing his disappointment on Instagram, Wightman shared a picture of himself celebrating his world title and acknowledging the setbacks he has faced in his preparations for the 2023 season. “As a result of the injury I sustained in February, I’ve had to deal with several more setbacks as I prepared to race this summer,” wrote Wightman. 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 going to be unable to compete at Worlds which has been really gutting to come to terms with.”
Last year, the 28-year-old British athlete famously beat Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen in a kick to the finish to become the first British athlete in nearly four decades to win the world 1,500m title. His father and his coach, Geoff Wightmanserved as the stadium announcer at Hayward Field in Eugene, and provided commentary during his race, making the victory even more memorable.
Following his world title, Wightman went on to secure a bronze medal in the same event at the Commonwealth Games and a silver medal in the 800m at the 2022 European Championships in Munich.
His string of injuries began with a foot injury, which caused him to miss the European Indoor Championships in March, and the issues spiraled from there, with discomfort in his Achilles tendon arising from wearing a boot, followed by a shin problem during a training camp in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Wightman felt there were risks he could have taken to compete in Budapest, but he ultimately decided against it, due to the potential impact on his 2024 Olympic year. Currently, he is taking some time off before beginning his rehabilitation, with the goal of returning to running safely and without pain by the end of August.