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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Barrow runner Thompson picked for London 2012

DISTANCE runner Chris Thompson will light up the Olympic Stadium on August 4 as he goes for gold at London 2012.

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OFF AND RUNNING: Chris Thompson has started the Olympic year well

The 31-year-old Barrow-born athlete was yesterday named in the Great Britain athletics squad for the games in the 10,000m.

It marks the latest step in a long odyssey for Thompson, whose career has been blighted by injury since he enjoyed great success in the under-23s ranks – winning the 5,000m at the European Championships nine years ago.

Thompson’s comeback to the highest level in the sport started when he won silver in the 10,000m at the 2010 European Championships – an event which marked Farah’s emergence as a world-class talent as he won double gold.

He also ran at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi later that year, but his hopes of taking part in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, were shattered by a heel injury.

This year had seemed to be going better – with Thompson speaking earlier this month of his belief he was on the verge of ‘doing something ridiculous’ but a back problem emerged ahead of the trials.

Speaking before the selection was confirmed, Thompson – who is currently training at altitude in France – said: “I am heading to an exciting place. I just hope I get to show it.

“Last summer, I didn’t get to show it, this summer I was so close to showing something ridiculous and I just hope I get to do it at some point this year.

“It was exciting myself and my coach so much that we just couldn’t wait to get on the plane back home and show off my new skills.

“I will do it – I just hope it’s this year.”

He added: “The biggest challenge is not necessarily going to be my back, it’s going to be everything else around it.

“It’s secondary problems that are usually the issue, as I have known in the past.

Thompson’s case for selection among the 71 athletes named yesterday was helped by being only one of two British runners, as well as Farah, to achieve the Olympic A-standard for the 10,000m.

He was, however – as he expected – overlooked for the 5,000m, where North East runner Nick McCormick was selected alongside Farah.

Carlisle’s Tom Farrell had been a favourite to take part in the shorter of the two distances as well, but a stress fracture in his right foot ended his games dream last month.

The 10,000m will be the first men’s track final of the Games, with Thompson lining up alongside compatriot and pre-event favourite Mo Farah in front of more than 80,000 spectators.

The event will be watched by hundreds of millions around the world, with his family and friends in Barrow either watching from trackside or on the BBC.

His ambition to be there was enhanced by a visit to the Olympic site with girlfriend and 800m runner Gemma Simpson, who missed out on a place herself over a competitive distance for British athletes.

Thompson said: “I was in Stratford with Gemma. She was opening the new hotel near the stadium and we stayed there the night – it was incredible.

“We were on the top floor, looking at the stadium, and we were getting goosebumps. I said to her ‘there’s nothing getting in the way of me competing in that. We have to get in that stadium’. It was fairly inspiring.”

Have your say

Superb news, bloody well done lad.

Posted by Baz Eye on 3 July 2012 at 19:48

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