Tomlinson springs to set a new British record in Paris

PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 July 2011

Chris Tomlinson

Chris Tomlinson

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Long jumper Chris Tomlinson set a new British record at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Paris on Friday – and former Olympic Champion Lynn Davies has tipped the Newham & Essex Beagles athlete to jump even further at next month’s World Championships.

The 29-year-old jumped 8.35metres on his third attempt in the French capital, beating rival Greg Rutherford’s previous record by five centimetres.

And although Tomlinson’s jump was only good enough for second place in the competition behind Panama’s Olympic Champion Irving Saladino, this was the Middlesbrough-born athlete’s biggest jump in four years, and Davies – who won Olympic Gold in Tokyo in 1964 – believes this performance will provide much-needed confidence for the British Athletics League competitor ahead of the trip to Daegu.

“It will give Chris great confidence and the timing in relation to next month’s World Championships in Daegu is brilliant,” said Davies, President of UK Athletics.

“All athletes will be looking at Daegu as a powerful pointer towards London. With the exception of one or two events, it will give a perspective of where they are and who they are up against in relation to 2012.

“If Chris can get upto 8.40m, in another 12 months he could be hitting 8.50m.”

Tomlinson had set his previous personal best of 8.29m in Germany in July 2007, but has rarely troubled that distance since and often under-performed on the international stage.

He failed to qualify for the final at the last Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, but, with just over a year to go until London 2012, Tomlinson appears to have rediscovered his best form at the right time.

And, with only three athletes having jumped further so far this year, the European bronze medal winners’ hopes of returning to the podium in Stratford next summer look to have improved significantly.

“It has indicated we have a potential Olympic medallist,” added Davies.

“If you had asked me before the event, I would not have said that. But this could be the making of Chris.

“He has shown what he can do and must ensure he has the belief to go even further.

“When I became Olympic champion I had such a strong sense of my own ability and that is what this jump will do for Chris.

“Belief is such an important aspect of sport. Chris has been around for a long time and he has always expressed frustration, saying that there is a big one out there - well the big one has been achieved. And now to go even bigger.

“He has the speed but the key is putting it all together at the right time. He is a big guy, but he has shown what he can do.”

Tomlinson’s club-mate Mo Farah continued his sparkling form with a season’s best run to win the 5,000m at Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in Birmingham.

The 28-year-old (pictured left) clocked 13 minutes 06.14 seconds, in the event which doubled as the Aviva British Grand Prix, to edge American training partner Galen Rupp into second place.

Farah’s perfectly executed tactical race included a 54-second final lap, which saw him breeze clear of the field on the home straight.

The double European Champion is now targeting World gold in Daegu and feels his current form is justification for the move to America to train alongside Rupp and coach Alberto Salazar.

“It’s great to beat that class of field,” he said. “It’s so nice to win and finish one-two with Galen.

“People have asked me or questioned me about my move to the States, but as an athlete you’ve always got to be looking at how to improve yourself and what you can do better.

“Quite often you have to make sacrifices, but you have to be prepared to cover every move in a race and you’ve got to get it right on the day. The gym work I’ve been doing has made me stronger and the speed-work has made me faster, so it’s worth it.”

Also on the bill, Beagles’ Richard Davenport romped to victory in the 400m with a personal best 49.91, finishing ahead of club-mate Tom Burton, who placed third in 51.18.

Rookie James Shane followed up his impressive performance at the European Team Championships last month, to run a personal best 1.46.70 and place fifth in the 800m.

James Ellington failed to qualify for the 100m final amid a strong field, headed by the fastest sprinter so far this year, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell.

Ellington, who produced an outstanding run over 200m in the British Athletics League last weekend, clocked 10.33 in the first 100m heat in Birmingham and placed sixth.

At Saturday’s IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Madrid, 400m runner Rabah Yousif Bkheit crossed the line in a season’s best 45.32 to place third, while club-mate Rikki Fifton was eighth in the 100m final, finishing in 10.44, with former Olympic finalist Dwain Chambers second.

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