Tomlinson and Devonish seek to rekindle old glories

Mike Rowbottom
Saturday 21 June 2008 00:00
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Chris Tomlinson and Marlon Devonish, winners in the long jump and 200m respectively in the European Cup here six years ago, return to the scene of their triumph today as the event comes back to this French venue at the foot of the Alps.

Tomlinson and Devonish are the only survivors of the British men's team that won this event in 2002, only to have their achievement annulled when the sprinter Dwain Chambers had his 100m victory disallowed in the wake of a doping ban, giving Germany the overall victory.

As the Beijing Olympics loom, the European Cup stands as a key early indicator of likely form for a side that includes the two 2002 victors, world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu – who is running the 200m – and world 400m silver medallist Nicola Sanders, who will run after recovering from a knee injury.

The second day will feature Britain's world indoor triple jump champion, Phillips Idowu, who tops the outdoor rankings this year with his recent clearance of 17.55m.

The last of what will be the old European Cup formats before the meeting transforms into the European Team Championships offers Dave Collins, performance director for UK Athletics, a guide to the strength of Britain's likely Olympic challenge.

In the meantime, Collins has indicated he may wait until the final selection deadline of 20 July before deciding whether Paula Radcliffe, struggling to overcome a stress fracture of her femur to run in the marathon, will make the Olympic team.

Collins said: "It's a significant injury and certainly she's been very committed and worked well. She's in the pool and cross-training but not actually running.

"I think there is a progression we would hope to see and that was laid down in the original plan. All the reports I am getting is that she is on schedule. The absolute deadline is when I sign off the team in Beijing. I would want to give her as much time as possible to see if she is capable of taking her place. We'll take it as far as we can to the wire."

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