Olympic finalist Jake Wightman leads a strong British contingent in the men’s 1500m at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix – a World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting – at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham on February 19.
The European and Commonwealth bronze medallist was 10th in Tokyo and is the Scottish indoor 1500m record-holder (3:34.48). The British record, held by Peter Elliott since 1990, is 3:34.20.
In what promises to be an enthralling domestic showdown, Wightman, who opened his season with a 7:50.97 3000m PB at the BMC Grand Prix in Sheffield on 9 January, is joined by Piers Copeland, Archie Davis, Neil Gourley, Charlie Da’Vall Grice, George Mills, and James West.
In-form Gourley, a World Championships finalist in Doha 2019, ran an outright 5000m PB (13:34.35) – the best indoor performance by a Scottish athlete over the distance – in Boston in December and most recently clocked an impressive 7:48.94 3000m PB at the Razorback Invitational in Arizona on 28 January. His 3:35.79 1500m best, which ranks him seventh on the Scottish all-time list, was achieved at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Toruń, Poland,12 months ago.
Da’Vall Grice, Olympic 1500m finalist in Rio 2016, is the British indoor 1000m record-holder (2:17.20) with a 1500m PB indoors of 3:38.95, while Copeland is the Welsh indoor record-holder over 1500m (3:38.55). Both athletes are European Indoor Championships finalists, finishing fifth in 2015 and 2021 respectively.
West, who opened his season with a 7:59.96 3000m at the Millrose Games, has run 3:36.93; Mills is the reigning national indoor 1500m champion and has a best of 3:39.25, and Davis has an indoor 1500m best of 3:41.18.
“After running 3000m indoors, I’m looking forward to dropping back down to 1500m and hopefully challenging my Scottish record,” said 27-year-old Wightman.
“This is a special time for British endurance running and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to compete against these guys in Birmingham. We’ve seen what’s possible by our athletes on the global stage and that provides us with inspiration every day to do even better. I hope we can deliver some fast times, possibly even a British record, and a great race for the home crowd.”
The Müller Indoor Grand Prix is the fifth meeting of the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Tour (Gold). There are seven ‘Gold’ level meetings across the series which started with Karlsruhe on 28 January and concludes in Madrid on 2 March.
Throughout the series, each athlete’s best three results will count towards their overall point score. The athlete with the most points in each scoring discipline at the end of the tour will be declared the winner and will be awarded a USD$10,000 bonus along with a wild card entry for the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade (March 2022).