Athletics: Chris Tomlinson putting aside rivalry for World Championships

CHRIS TOMLINSON admits he has let his British rival Greg Rutherford get under his skin, but says domestic rivalry will be the last thing on his mind at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, writes Tom Reynolds.

CHRIS TOMLINSON admits he has let his British rival Greg Rutherford get under his skin, but says domestic rivalry will be the last thing on his mind at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, writes Tom Reynolds.

Rutherford first upstaged Tomlinson at last summer's World Championships when he broke the Newham and Essex Beagle's British long-jump record on his way to fifth in Berlin - while Tomlinson was eighth.

His GB rival repeated the trick at the Aviva World Indoor Trials in Sheffield last month leaving an angry Tomlinson questioning his international future.

But while admitting the Battle of Britain had gone to his head in the Steel City, Tomlinson has vowed to keep his eyes firmly on the prize in Doha this week.

"I think maybe I got a bit too caught up in the rivalry in Sheffield and let it get to me, but that's all gone now," said Tomlinson, who is part of a 38-strong Aviva GB&NI team heading out to the Middle East.

"I really wanted to win against Greg and it was a bit of a grudge match, so when I didn't get the outcome it was very frustrating.

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"When I said after Sheffield that I wouldn't go to a major international again until I was confident I was jumping well enough to compete I was being serious.

"But then in the last few weeks I have had some really good sessions and I am feeling really confident that I can go there and jump 8.15 metres or 8.20m which I think would get me a medal."

The Doha event comes almost seven years since Tomlinson announced himself on the domestic scene with a jump of 8.27m, shattering the 34-year-old British record.

After those 2002 heroics the 28-year-old has often flattered to deceive on the international stage with a World Indoor silver medal in 2008 his finest hour.

And while adamant Doha will not be his last chance saloon, Tomlinson knows he needs to start delivering major championship medals - and quickly.

"Sometimes things click into place and sometimes they don't and the World Indoor Trials were a day when they didn't," added Tomlinson.

"But I can't afford to be picking up the minor places in major championships any more. I need to be challenging for medals."

Aviva has been proud to have helped and supported the Aviva GB & NI junior, senior and disability teams as they prepare for all major events and championships since 1999.

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