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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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Barrow boy Thompson flies to European Championship silver

BARROW-BORN Chris Thompson produced the performance of a lifetime in Barcelona last night as he claimed 10,000m silver at the European Championships.

Thompson arrived in Barcelona as the second favourite behind Aviva GB and Northern Ireland team-mate Mo Farah, and the British duo lived up to their pre-championship billing to finish first and second inside the 1992 Olympic Stadium.

Farah, who won European Indoor 3,000m gold in 2009, cruised to victory in a time of 28:24.99 minutes, leaving Thompson in a three-way battle with Italian Daniele Meucci and home favourite Ayad Lamdassem.

And the 29-year-old from Barrow produced the final lap of his life to overhaul Lamdassem before pipping Meucci to silver in a time of 28:27.33 minutes – the exact same split of his Italian rival.

“That was the greatest half an hour of my entire life,” said Thompson, who will return to the track in the 5,000m tomorrow.

“I have been on a rollercoaster up until this year but this year has gone completely to plan and I hit my first sticky patch with ten laps to go.

“But I thought ‘I can handle one sticky patch’ and I got through it – and after all the problems I’ve had silver is like gold to me.”

Thompson’s family left Barrow when he was aged just two-and-a-half, but he still has a lot of family in the town, and is a passionate Barrow AFC fan.

His success was a victory for sheer hard work and perseverance after a career plagued with injury. He burst on to the scene with European Under-23 gold in the 5,000m in 2003 – outsprinting Farah on that day. However, injury after injury has prevented Thompson fulfilling that potential until he returned to form in style in May when he clocked the then third fastest British 10,000m of all-time – 27:29.61 – in the USA, where he is now based.

“I’m reading Steve Redgrave’s book at the moment for inspiration and he talked about a race in 1987 when he thought he was gone at halfway but just dug in and won,” added Thompson.

“I was just thinking – four laps, three laps, two laps, one lap to go – just get through it. The final couple of laps were just buzzing – I’ve still got goosebumps and I can remember just running down the back straight and being lifted by the noise.

“The amount of British flags that were there – it felt like a home event. If it’s as good as that in two years’ time at the London Olympics then all the Brits are going to find another step. That took all my energy to get to the second place.”

Thompson also paid tribute to Farah, after the gold medallist taunted Lamdassem with 1,000m to go and forced the Spaniard to up the pace before passing his rival with ease on the final lap. Farah’s tactics played in to the hands of Thompson as he reeled in Lamdassem before edging out Meucci by the width of his GB vest.

“There is no shame in finishing second to Mo, he is the best distance runner this country have ever had,” added Thompson. “When he went out I knew I wanted second and the way he took it on allowed me to go on and do that.”

The GB and NI team is sponsored by Aviva, whose support, both at home and abroad, is helping the team prepare to compete at their best. Watch the Aviva GB & NI Team live in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix. For more details visit <http://aviva.co.uk/athletics> aviva.co.uk/athletics

Have your say

made up for you chris, my daughter met you and mo at gateshead she was well made up,i wish you could come and look at our track at Barrow you would be shocked,it is in a terrible state

Posted by j on 20 August 2010 at 12:15

Proud as punch for you Chris, top effort fella.

Posted by d on 28 July 2010 at 21:16

View all 3 comments on this article

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