London 2012: Chris Tomlinson hoping it’s third time lucky at Olympic Games

Long jump star has battled back from injury and wants to improve on fifth place at Athens in 2004

Hampstead’s Chris Tomlinson hopes his timing is right as he makes a third bid for Olympic glory at London 2012.

The 30-year-old long jumper, who competes for the Newham & Essex Beagles club, has been one of Great Britain’s foremost athletes for much of the past decade but has often met with frustration at the major championships.

After recording a season’s best of 8.26 metres at Crystal Palace earlier this month and moving up the world rankings from 12th to seventh, the joint British record-holder feels this could be his big opportunity.

Tomlinson, who finished fifth on his Olympic debut in 2004 but failed to make the final four years ago in Beiking, said: “My form is coming good at the right time.

“Unfortunately I had to have an operation at the back end of last year and it took a bit of time to get over that, but I have had some strong competitions recently.

“I’ve been second and third in a couple of major Diamond Leagues. Nobody in the long jump is really jumping out of the pit, so I have certainly got the potential to go there and do well.

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“It is just a matter of timing and we will go there and see what happens.”

Tomlinson announced himself when he first broke the British record, then 8.23m, by four centimetres a decade ago. He has since pushed that mark out to 8.35m but now shares the distinction of being the country’s best after his team-mate Greg Rutherford equalled him in May.

Tomlinson, originally from Middlesbrough, moved to Hampstead in 2007. He expects to be inspired by the chance to compete on the highest stage in front of a home crowd but is not getting carried away with the hype.

He said: “It has been talked about for seven years now since we won the bid. To be walking out there and finally getting the chance to give my all, it really is going to be an incredible experience.

“You have got to take yourself back a step and realise there is still going to be a take-off board and a sand pit. You have just got to stay focused on that.

“Yes, there are going to be some great experiences around the Games but I have just got to keep it nice and simple.”

Tomlinson is in action next Friday, August 3, with the final the following day.