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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Barrow runner Thommo fulfills lifetime ambition with Olympics selection

OLYMPIC athlete Chris Thompson has fulfilled his lifelong ambition by being selected for London 2012.

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TEAM-MATES: Chris Thompson and fellow Great Britain Olympic long distance runner Mo Farah in the European Championships 10,000 metres final in Barcelona two years ago, when Farah won gold and Barrow-born Thompson took silver PA

The 31-year-old Barrow-born runner was named in the Great Britain team for the Games this week.

He will run in the 10,000m in the Olympic Stadium, competing for the first men’s track medals of the entire games.

Thompson has been nursing a back problem, which caused him to miss the GB Trials in Birmingham last month, but his performances last year and earlier this year got him the nod from UK Athletics chief Charles van Commenee.

“I’m really chuffed and excited,” Thompson told the Evening Mail from his altitude training base in France, where he will stay until the Olympics start.

“There’s still a long way to go and I want to make the most of this opportunity.

“To think my lifelong ambition to be an Olympian has been given to me!

“It’s almost surreal. You never know the extent of the joy or loss until it happens.”

Thompson’s joy at being selected was offset by the news his girlfriend Jemma Simpson missed out on a place in the women’s 800m. She was one of four British athletes to have achieved the Olympic A-standard – just as Thompson had done for both the 5,000m and 10,000m – but all were overlooked in favour of European Championships silver medallist Lynsey Sharp, who only had the B-standard and was the only runner picked.

Thompson added: “The other side of the coin is I’m gutted for my girlfriend Jemma not being in team. It feels like I’m experiencing both sides.

“This year will be one to remember for so many reasons for everyone.

“So far, I feel so lucky and privileged and will make the most of that!”

Thompson’s 10,000m race – where he will race alongside British team-mate and gold medal favourite Mo Farah – will take place at 9.15pm on Saturday, August 4. It will be shown live on BBC TV.

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