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Chris Thompson

15 May 2012

Chris Thompson, Britain’s European 10,000m silver medallist has confirmed that he will go head-to-head with Mo Farah over 5,000m at the Aviva London Grand Prix in Crystal Palace on Friday 13 July, in his final race before this summer’s Olympic Games.

Three weeks prior to Crystal Palace, Thompson will also race at the Aviva 2012 Trials on Sunday 24 June at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium, where he hopes to claim his third 5,000m national title.

Thompson has got off to a promising start in 2012, running the Olympic ‘A’ qualifying standard over 5,000m of 13:15.21 last month, and is looking forward to bringing that form to London’s Samsung Diamond League event.

“The Crystal Palace Diamond League is the perfect time for me to run over 5,000m, three weeks before the Olympic athletics, and the fact that it is such a big event makes it ideal for my progression towards the 10k.”

A 10,000m specialist, Thompson is relishing the opportunity of taking on the world’s best in a final tune-up before London 2012 over 5,000m. He admits however that he is wary of the pitfalls of winning such a high profile race before the Games, as it would mount added pressure on any athlete’s shoulders.

“To be honest I don’t know if I would want to win [the 5,000m at the Aviva London Grand Prix] because of the heat I’d have from every other athlete - I’d be like a Mo Farah figure and they’re all coming after me. I certainly want to put a few tactics and manoeuvres into the race to see what works for me, which will be so important when building to when I race in a 10k.”

Since a successful 2010 in which he picked up his first major championships medal, Thompson has suffered from numerous injuries and has been determined to work himself into peak form in time for this summer.

During that period, Thompson has witnessed his longtime rival Mo Farah blossom into a world champion athlete, an achievement that Thompson says he knew was always within Farah’s powers.

“What Mo has done is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. I’ve known him since he was 14, and seeing him grow as an athlete year on year, you knew he had something special. It was only a matter of time before he realised his potential and executed what he could do.”

Both Thompson and Farah spend most of their time training in Oregon, USA, but the Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete spoke excitedly of his return to home shores to compete in the Aviva 2012 Trials next month and the atmosphere that he expects.

“I remember going to the Olympic Trials before Sydney in Birmingham and the atmosphere was incredible and this year will be no exception, especially with the Games being in London. Everything’s going to be multiplied by 10, athletes’ emotions, the expectation and the enjoyment at these kinds of events.”

With himself, Farah and Tom Farrell having run the ‘A’ standard over 5,000m as well as challengers like Andy Baddeley and Andy Vernon looming, Thompson understands that his place in the Olympic 5,000m squad is by no means secure and is looking to seal his spot at Trials.

“At the moment, we have three guys that have the A standard for the 5000m and I would like to do both the 10,000 and the 5,000 at the Olympics. With potentially a fourth guy coming through, it could be a great race at the Aviva 2012 Trials with three guys going past the post as being the ones that go to the Olympics. 10,000m is my priority, but the 5,000m will be a very exciting race at the Trials.”

Watch the world's best athletes in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix on 13-14 July at Crystal Palace. For further information visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56.