Jake Wightman claims his decision to race through the challenges of coronavirus have given his chances of landing an Olympic medal a huge shot in the arm.

The 26-year-old rounds off his impressive season over 800 metres at tonight’s (Tuesday) Continental Tour leg in Zagreb.

The Scot heads the European rankings following his victory in 1:44.18 in Ostrava seven days ago.

And despite the hassle of hopping from country to country amid a pandemic, carrying on rather than opting out has been the right move, he insists, with Tokyo in 2021 in mind.

He said: “There are different reasons why people have sat out. But for me, you still want to be racing as much as possible because a year is a long time without being on a track and experiencing all those feelings and situations. You do lose race sharpness and it takes a while to get back.

“I admire people like Neil Gourley who admitted he wasn’t quite ready but still came out and raced. I think it will benefit him and I’m hoping all this benefits me. It might have been a disrupted year but if I have a better set-up going into 2021, who knows much more I can deliver?”

Wightman gets a shot at revenge in the Croatian capital with Dan Rowden, who edged him out for the UK title in Manchester earlier this month, joining fellow Brits Elliot Giles and Max Burgin in the field.

“I didn’t run badly, I just didn’t run the way I should have done against Dan,” Wightman said. “I didn’t break him at all. But it shows how well Dan is running. I don’t feel he’s had enough respect. People didn’t pay enough attention to how he ran in Gothenburg last month. He ran 1:44 two years ago. He just had a year out and people forgot about him.”

Elsewhere in Zagreb, Kirsty Law takes on double Olympic champion and home favourite Sandra Perkovic in the discus.

Meanwhile Jemma Reekie will be given the green light to smash her lifetime best over 800 metres at this evening’s Gala dei Castelli meeting in Bellinzona.

The 22-year-old has the chance to make it six wins out of seven over the distance in 2020 at the Swiss event, which will be held in front of 1000 spectators.

And even though the Scot already heads the world rankings indoors and out, her coach Andy Young believes her top time of 1:57.91 could come under threat.

He said: “I definitely think there’s more to come over 800. She’s not had that really fast race with good conditions yet that’s going to pull her below 1:57 and allow her to take it on.

“Bellinzona can be windy but she is in a good place now so if it all falls the right way, this could be the big improvement. But the most important thing is that she keeps winning."