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Trials and Tribulations

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Chris Tomlinson


06 July 2009

In the first of our series leading up to this weekend's Aviva World Trials and UK Championships, Chris Tomlinson recalls his own personal experience of the national championships.

Chris Tomlinson has been the UK long jump record-holder for seven years, but knows more than most how difficult it can be to win gold at the national championships. He first broke the record in 2002, but had to settle for silver behind Scotland’s Darren Ritchie at that year’s AAAs.

He has since gone on to win gold twice in 2004 and 2007. But, the UK Championships is a competition in which medals never come easy, as each and every athlete strains every sinew to get on that podium. This year will be no different as Tomlinson faces up to training partner Greg Rutherford and a whole host of other dangerous rivals at this weekend’s Aviva UK Championships & World Trials in Birmingham.

Recalling his experiences at the national championships, Tomlinson said:  “Looking back to when it all started for me we have to go back to 2002 when I broke the British record at the youthful age of 20.

“That made me take the sport seriously and made we want to compete at the top. I broke it in the US and came back to Birmingham to be defeated in the then AAAs by Darren Ritchie. It was a good wake up call for me.

“In 2004 I had won the indoor championships but not yet the outdoor and you want to hold both titles to be recognised. It’s an important event and one we all want to do well in, it was great to win the title that year.

“People try and big up rivalry in sport and athletics is no different. Some people yearn for it. It helps them but not me. Darren wanted a rivalry back in the day but that’s not in my character. People want me and Greg Rutherford to be rivals but we use the same coach and are good mates. Hopefully we push each other on – that is what works best for me.

“At the moment I am jumping well, an 8.23m the other weekend has really helped my confidence and I can look forward to Birmingham. This summer has been great, if its 29- 30 degrees next weekend then we can hope for big performances from everyone.

“Greg will always jump over 8m because he’s so quick and Nathan (Morgan) and Jonathan (Moore) will be confident too, so let’s just look forward to a weekend of top athletics.”