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Lynn Davies urges Tomlinson to show no fear this weekend

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Chris Tomlinson

14 August 2008


Former Olympic long jump champion Lynn Davies has urged Middlesbrough’s Chris Tomlinson to ignore the rankings and show no fear in this weekend’s Olympic long jump competition.


Tomlinson has won his race to be fit to compete for Team GB in Beijing and has confirmed he will also compete in the Aviva British Grand Prix on Sunday 31st August at Gateshead International Stadium.


And Davies – who was a surprise gold medal winner in the 1964 Olympics – believes the biggest battle has been won for the 26-year-old and he should now believe that a medal is possible.


Tomlinson and fellow long jumper, Greg Rutherford, will do battle in the qualifying rounds this Saturday at the Bird’s Nest Stadium and will continue their rivalry two weeks later in Gateshead.


Davies reckons that anything can happen on the day and our jumpers should not be scared of the rankings as he proved back in 1964,


He said: “My best going into the Tokyo Games at the time was way off the favourites, so my aim was to try and make the bronze medal, I had to be realistic.


“The same can be said for Chris and Greg this week, looking at the rankings they have to be realistic but they also have to be optimistic. Take Irving Saladino, he can jump 8.70m and I personally think it will be won with 8.50m to 8.60m, but you never know what can happen on the day itself.


“When I went to those games there were two guys who were certainties for gold and silver, Ralph Boston was the clear favourite then there was the Russian Igor Ter-Ovanesyan, I was well down the order of rankings, but on the day there was all sorts of weather there was wind and rain the worst possible conditions, but it was a great leveller and I managed to beat them both to win gold.


Davies is also pleased that Gateshead will host the welcome home party for our athletes.


“We had the send off at Crystal Palace which the athletes really appreciated with most of our British team competing there. The week after the Games finish we have the Aviva British Grand Prix which will be a wonderful opportunity to welcome them all back. The Gateshead crowd will be really thrilled to have meeting this year as they are such loyal supporters of athletics up there and it will be a great opportunity for them to welcome back our heroes and heroines, hopefully with some medals to show off.”


Davies will fly out to China this week to watch the start of the track and field programme, and he believes a strong start this weekend is what our team needs.


“What will make a big difference, is if they can emulate Mary Rand who won long jump gold on the first day as it lifted the whole team. If Kelly Sotherton wins gold on Saturday it will have the same effect and then who knows how many medals they will be showing off in Gateshead!”


The Gateshead meeting will also be the first outing post-Beijing for the majority of Britain's returning track and field stars.


This year's event marks the first major global track meeting in the north east since 2006. The Aviva British Grand Prix will now be held in Gateshead until at least 2010.


The Aviva British Grand Prix is one of the key sporting events taking place in 2008 as part of NewcastleGateshead's world-class festivals and events programme.  www.NewcastleGateshead.com


Tickets for the Aviva British Grand Prix are now available on 08000 556 056 or online at www.ukathletics.net