Final chance for athletes to clinch Olympic place

Chris Tomlinson
Chris Tomlinson
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A PLACE at London 2012 may already be assured for Jessica Ennis, but for a whole host of Yorkshire athletes the chance to join her at this summer’s Olympics depends on one more weekend of action.

The Aviva 2012 Trials are being contested by 750 hopeful athletes at Birmingham’s Alexandra Stadium over the next three days.

Hoping to join Sheffield heptathlete Ennis and the big names of British athletics in the Olympic Stadium, are a number of athletes from the White Rose.

The first two in each event over the coming three days will gain selection, providing they have the ‘A’ qualifying standard.

Among those bidding for selection is Middlesbrough long jumper Chris Tomlinson, 30, who jointly holds the British record with Greg Rutherford at 8m35.

In a season punctuated by injury and the birth of his first child, Tomlinson has jumped only 8m01 but heads to Birmingham confident he can make up the required 19cm to earn selection.

“Training has been going better than ever,” he said. “I have competed sparsely so far this year and I had an OK jump at 8.01m, but it is all about making sure I jump well when I need to jump well.”

York’s Richard Buck is coming off a strong indoor season and is a good bet for a place on the 4x400m relay team, but he has a number of people in his way as he bids – along with Leeds’s Richard Strachan – for a place in the individual team.

Buck, 25, goes into the trials having recently set a personal best of 45.61secs in Geneva.

Rotherham’s Louise Bloor is an outside bet in the 100m tonight and the 200m on Sunday, in which she goes up against a fine-tuning Ennis.

Redcar’s Johanna Jackson is the reigning Commonwealth champion and a favourite to progress in the shortened 5,000m race walk.

Cleckheaton’s Sarah Holt has been edging ever closer to the ‘A’ standard in the women’s hammer and will be hoping to deliver on her potential in the second city tomorrow.

Barnsley’s Luke Cutts competes in the pole vault tomorrow while Hatti Archer (nee Dean) has to wait until Sunday to race the women’s 3,000m steeplechase and exorcise the ghosts of Beijing when she was forced to pull out with injury on the eve of the Games.

One of the highlights in the field events over the weekend will be Sunday’s high jump, when Wakefield’s Martyn Bernard goes up against in-form Robbie Grabarz and surprise Beijing silver medallist Germaine Mason.

The GB Olympic Track and Field team will be announced on July 3.

For those who miss out on qualification, a place in the British team at the European Championships is the consolation prize.