Tomlinson faces worrying wait over calf injury

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The Independent Online

Chris Tomlinson's prospects of competing in the impending Olympics, where he is a genuine medal prospect in the long jump, hang in the balance following the news that he has torn his right calf muscle.

It is a cruelly timed blow for the 6ft 6in, 26-year-old Teessider, who had high hopes of improving upon his fifth place at the 2004 Games in Athens following his silver medal-winning performance at this year's World Indoor Championships.

Tomlinson, who holds the British record of 8.29m, had to pull out midway through competition at the London Grand Prix on Saturday after landing awkwardly. He underwent a scan yesterday at the Olympic Medical Institute within Northwick Park Hospital, which revealed an injury requiring intensive treatment, and he will now abandon his plan to fly out to the Team GB camp in Macau on Saturday.

Instead he will undergo rehabilitation at the UK Athletics High Performance Centre in Lee Valley, where he has done much of his training this year.

"It is a big blow for me, but I have just got to work with it," Tomlinson said. "When I was on the runway at Crystal Palace, my calf seized up on me. We were hopeful that it was cramp, but deep down I had fears it was a tear and the scan confirmed that.

"I will have a fitness test in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime I am keeping my head high and trying to stay positive.The main priority for me now is being on that runway on 16 August. If I get there fit and in good shape, I know I have got the ability to jump as far as anyone in the world."

The Olympic Games men's long jump qualifying round is scheduled to take place on Saturday 16 August, with the final two days later.

Dave Collins, UK Athletics Performance Director, said: "This is lousy timing for Chris with less than three weeks to go before he is due to compete in Beijing. In his condition, there is little to be gained by travelling to Macau. The next few days will be crucial in his recovery before we make the final assessment as to whether he is fit enough to perform at the Olympics."

While Tomlinson struggles, the 21-year-old Briton who has just returned from long-time injury, the European silver medallist Greg Rutherford, appears to be running into ideal form with victories in the Olympic trials, with 8.20m, and at Crystal Palace with 8.16m.