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Clock is running as Wightman gears up for another fast time

The sound of the stopwatch has provided an ever-present accompaniment to Jake Wightman's regime for almost a year, writes Mark Woods.

Come next weekend, when the countdown to Scotland's track and field selection deadline for the Commonwealth Games reaches zero, the middle-distance runner hopes he will have halted the clock in a quick enough time.

Tonight, in what will probably be his penultimate opportunity to achieve the qualifying standard for the 1500 metres, he races at the British Milers' Club meeting at Manchester's SportsCity and the European Under-20 champion knows he must do better than 3.42:20 to avoid a desperate, eleventh-hour pursuit.

Wightman achieved the required time just 11 days ago, moving half-way towards fulfilling the selectors criteria and giving him real hope. However, the Loughborough-based prospect admits he has been weighed down by his Glasgow pursuit.

"The standard in this country seems to have picked up this year," Wightman said. "That's good, and hopefully that can spur me on for personal bests. I just don't want to watch the Games from home. It's a chance I don't want to miss. The pressure's possibly a hindrance at the moment. It's meant I'm not relaxing in races."

Still two months short of his 20th birthday, Wightman has been tipped as a potential contender for Olympic gold by the time of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

Scottish Athletics supremo Stephen Maguire believes a Commonwealth outing would provide a perfect learning opportunity for Wightman.

"The value for him in competing at a home Games will really set his career moving forward," the Northern Irishman said. "He's only a youngster, but he's European junior champion and Glasgow would be a magnificent opportunity."

Beth Potter will chase the 5000m standard in Manchester, while javelin hopeful James Campbell will aim to land the 70 metres throw he needs to secure a Commonwealth berth when he competes in Bedford.

Elsewhere, Eilish McColgan opens her summer season in the 3000m steeplechase at the Diamond League meeting in Oregon.

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