Elliot Giles set for battle in front of home crowd in the 1500m

·2 min read
Elliot Giles competing for Team England at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (REUTERS)

Birmingham's Elliot Giles learned his trade at the Alexander Stadium - now he claims he doesn't recognise the place.

Birchfield Harrier Giles booked his place in this weekend's showpiece 1500m final, one of the highest quality events at these Games.

With only the top five advancing from each hotly contested semi-final, Giles clocked 3:37.98 to claim fifth place.

He will now come up against Scotland's Jake Wightman, the recently crowned world champion, and Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot, who won the same title in 2019, in Saturday's medal showdown.

"I just can't believe this stadium, I don't recognise it at all, it's like being in another place," said Giles.

"It probably fair to say bit of it used to be pretty shabby but now it's got to be one of the best athletics venues in the world. The crowd was insane, I'm so proud of Birmingham. It's a morning session, the noise is amazing, and every day is like this.

"I don't feel any extra pressure, I'm a local lad and this is my stomping ground, it's where I feel most comfortable."

Half of the 12-strong final field will be from Great Britain, with Australia's Oliver Hoare the quickest qualifier. Joining Giles will be England team-mate Matthew Stonier, Scotland's Wightman, Josh Kerr and Neil Gourley and Wales's Jake Heyward, an Olympic finalist 12 months ago in Tokyo.

"The quality of that heat was so good; how many world finalists were in there? You couldn't make any mistakes and I'm pleased to have got the job done, I didn't want just one race here," added Giles.

"I've got some time to get ready now, but I can't wait to get back out there, the atmosphere for this race is going to be off the charts."

Wightman admitted he is still pinching himself to be introduced as the world champion, especially because it is dad Geoff on the public address at the Alexander Stadium.

“It’s cool to be announced as world champion," he said.

"It’s a confidence boost for me if to get announced as that. That’s the most it’s sunk in I guess because that was what I was waiting for to be announced as that and to be like, ‘yes I have actually done that’.

“It was even nice just walking out around the bend, just to have the people clapping and saying well done and good luck to me, it’s special."

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