Chris Tomlinson says his long jump rivalry with Greg Rutherford is a healthy one
16:46 21 May 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Chris Tomlinson insists there are no lingering ill feelings towards his British long jump record rival Greg Rutherford despite losing the first big head-to-head showdown at Great City Games last Saturday in Manchester.
The 32-year-old Hampstead resident sparked controversy by questioning the legitimacy of Rutherford’s new British record of 8.51m, set in San Diego last month, by calling it a “clearly large foul”.
To add further fuel to the fire, Tomlinson – who held the British record for 12 years – also said the officials who registered Rutherford’s mark in America were worse than the ones at his local track.
Away from the highly-charged debate, Tomlinson had to settle for third place in Manchester with 7.77m, leaving 2012 Olympic champion Rutherford to clinch round one with an 8.02 leap.
Tomlinson, who failed to register a mark at the Doha Diamond League meeting two weeks ago, is determined to beat Rutherford in their series of match-ups during the next few months and get the British record back.
“I want to beat Greg and he wants to beat me,” he said. “It’s amusing everyone would like to make a bit of edge to it, a bit of rivalry, and that’s great.
“It’s just the way it is. People like a bit of controversy and I’m not dumb enough not to realise that it can be good for the event. But we get on well, we used to train together and we shared rooms.
“You’ve got to be true to yourself in life. I’m someone who’s a good guy. I don’t like confrontation but I’m the sort of guy, unfortunately, where if I’m walking down the street and someone’s being kicked in, I’m the one who goes and says something and then gets kicked in the head!”