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UK Athletics

Tomlinson leaps back into form

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Top coach Peter Stanley forecasts long jumpers will present the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland selectors with “an embarrassment of riches” at the Norwich Union European Trials, incorporating the UK Championships and AAA of England Championships at Manchester’s Sportcity on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July - and onwards to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.


The man who guided Jonathan Edwards to the top of the triple jump world, made the prediction after his latest star, Chris Tomlinson, leapt 8.09m at an international meeting in Bad Langensalza, Germany, on Saturday 8 July. It earned him third place behind the 1996 Olympics Silver medallist James Beckford (Jamaica), who reached 8.25m, and Gable Garenamotse (Botswana), the Silver medallist at the last two Commonwealth Games, who cleared 8.19m.


More important as a stepping stone to this summer’s European Championships in Gothenburg, the effort leaves Tomlinson (Newham and Essex Beagles) locked at the top of the UK rankings for this summer alongside the reigning AAA Senior Champion, 18-year-old Greg Rutherford (Marshall Milton Keynes AC), who jumped 8.09m to win the South of England title last month. The UK Athletics Elite Standard for Gothenburg is 8.05m.


Although Rutherford had a nightmare at the SPAR European Cup a fortnight ago, he jumped 8.00m at a European AA Permit meeting in Salamanca, Spain, last Wednesday evening to move back towards his form of last season, which he climaxed by setting a new UK Junior record of 8.14m when he won the European Junior title in Kaunas, Lithuania, last July.


Tomlinson is confident his performance in Germany amounts to a considerable step towards the form that earned him the UK Senior record of 8.27m in 2002. It leaves him 1cm ahead of Nathan Morgan (Birchfield Harriers) in the UK all-time rankings.

The fact that third place in the rankings is still occupied by Lynn Davies, the 1964 Olympic Champion who is now the UK Athletics President, demonstrates how long the event has been in the doldrums. But Stanley is confident it is on the way up.


Chris is very pleased,” said Stanley. “He’s looking good and feeling very good as well. His confidence is high. Obviously Greg is jumping very well at the moment. And Nathan jumped 8.00m and 7.93 in competitions last month. So the three of them are coming along quite nicely.


 “Everyone says it’s medals at the 2008 Olympics that matter and I think the long jumpers are bustling their way towards world class again. I certainly hope they give Dave Collins [the UK Athletics Performance Director] an embarrassment of riches by the time we get to Beijing! The future’s bright.”