WRITTEN FOR ATHLETICS WEEKLY MAGAZINE ON 30/9/10
After clinching European bronze earlier this summer, Chris Tomlinson will find himself as one of the favourites for a medal in this weekend’s Commonwealth long-jump final and the former British record-holder is determined to claim his second piece of championship silverware of 2010 in Delhi, writes Nicola Bamford.
The 28-year-old Newham and Essex Beagles athlete will contest the qualifying round on Friday and hopes to return to the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex the following day to feature highly in the final.
Having arrived in India two days ago from the UKA preparation camp in Doha, Tomlinson revealed:
“Training’s going ok. I’m feeling pretty strong and springy so hopefully my body will good when the time comes. I just want to get a medal, that’s the main aim.”
Sixth in the 2002 and 2006 Games, respectively, Tomlinson will be battling for gold against British record-holder Greg Rutherford in addition to World indoor champion Fabrice Lapierre and Chris Noffke of Australia.
Fifth in the 2004 Olympics and the World indoor silver-medallist two-years ago, Tomlinson continued:
“My event can be quite a loaded event - six of the eight finalists from Berlin are from the Commonwealth so it’s very competitive.
But I’m aware that people are dropping out each week. I won’t be sure who’s competing until the morning of qualification. Greg’s a great jumper and it would be great if we can both challenge for the medals.”
Guided by Frank Attoh at their Lee Valley base, Tomlinson captured his thirteenth national title with an 8.17m leap this season and registered a 10.74 100m lifetime best to prove his speed is still there for the run-way.
Although slightly short of his best 8.29m mark from 2007, the World championship eighth-placer scored some fine performances in 2010 with third place in the European team championships and in two IAAF Diamond League meetings, as well as collecting his continental medal in Spain.
Tomlinson, who even squeezed in the time for a 15.21m w triple jump for his club in August, offered his assessment:
“The season’s gone ok. Getting my first outdoor championship medal at the European’s against a competitive field was good but it would have been good to have got a PB over there.
After Barcelona, I wanted to ensure I was mentally fresh by the end of the season, I was aware of the situation so held back and didn’t put the focus on making money in lots of competitions like I’ve done in the past, I’d rather get a medal.”
Married to West End actress and former Miss Newcastle Lucia Rovardi, Tomlinson explained the reasons behind feeling fresh for his time at trackside:
“I’ve been doing a course on mortgages as I’m interested in property and I’ve just qualified as a personal-trainer.
I like to do things outside of the sport to keep myself fresh for when I’m at the track. I think not thinking about it constantly helps keep me as enthusiastic as I am.”