Nearly-man Jake Wightman has assumed poster-boy status for these Commonweath Games and he cannot believe it.

Born 50 miles up the road in Nottingham, the identical twin was an athletics page boy – but never the groom – until a month ago.

In the space of 24 incredible days, the Edinburgh-based 1,500 metres star took a huge leap from collecting minor medals in championships. He became British champion for the first time then flew to the United States and stunned the sport by landing the world title – as dad and coach Geoff provided the stadium commentary.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Wightman, Britain’s first 1,500m world champion since Steve Cram in 1983. “And pretty cool, because my Commonwealth and European bronze medals from 2018 were getting a bit extinct.

“I’m glad I’ve been able to refresh my CV and my dad can actually announce me as something else.”

So impressed was middle-distance legend Sebastian Coe that he believes there is “no reason” Wightman can’t complete a golden hat-trick – here in Birmingham and then at next month’s European Championships.

“Jake will know he has that opportunity,” said Coe of an athlete who has leapfrogged all the 1980s greats to No.3 in the all-time British rankings. “You have to say, putting the kiss of death on it, he has done the hardest one first.

Wightman is one of the big-name stars to watch at the Commonwealth Games (

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PA)

“What Jake achieved in Eugene is a huge deal for British athletics. Absolutely massive. It’s great for him but I think the impact it will have psychologically on a lot of other really good middle-distance runners that we also have will be massive.

“Somebody needed to win something and Jake’s done that. I think that will give permission for the current generation to feel more emboldened in the championship arena.

“The next generation coming through have a role model now.”

Wightman, 28, intends to embrace the responsibility, starting here where he wears the Scottish vest, adding: “I hope I can be a lightning rod for others. “British and Scottish athletics is in such a good place at the moment.

“There’s a lot of people who should be pretty proud at what they did to set the ball rolling. And it’s not finished rolling yet.

“There’s more athletes coming through that will be able to hopefully be as good as this in the coming years.”

Seb Coe has hailed the recent success of Wightman (

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REUTERS)

Scottish athletics is particularly strong coming into these Games with Laura Muir having delivered one of the most eye-catching performances in Eugene to take women’s 1,500m bronze.

Josh Kerr, Olympic 1,500m bronze medallist, was fifth behind Wightman while Eilish McColgan has broken three British records this year

Muir said: “Regardless of where we are in the world when we have a Scottish vest on we feel very proud and patriotic.

“And right now Scottish athletics is on fire. It’s crazy and so nice to be part of that. The Commonwealth Games is particularly exciting for me as I need a medal there to complete my set at major champs.”

Muir will expect it given Faith Kipyegon and Gudaf Tsegay, gold and silver medallists ahead of her at Hayward Field, are not competing in Birmingham.

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