Athletics head coach backed to bring success to Team GB

LONG-jumper Chris Tomlinson has backed UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee to help Team GB achieve their medal target at next year’s Olympics, despite being a controversial figure.

Tomlinson, 30, admits to having had differences of opinions with the tough-talking Dutchman while triple jumper Phillips Idowu has fallen out with the head coach altogether.

But Tomlinson believes van Commenee is the right man for the job as London prepares to host the showpiece next summer.

“Charles is a controversial figure to say the least,” said Tomlinson.

“I have known him for a long period of time now and his job is to pick the team and make sure the athletes are going in the right direction, and he has been doing that.

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“Charles will sit down with me and what he tells me is pretty much what I am thinking.

“I get on very well with him and have always done so. He’s the sort of guy that we will speak on the phone, he will shout at me and I will shout at him, but ultimately we are singing from the same hymn sheet.

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“However, an athlete is an individual character and it is not a team sport.

“Charles is a smart bloke and knows what motivates the athletes. But we have disagreed on some things and I will do what I think is best for me, and an athlete’s personal coach is the most important person for them.”

Tomlinson, who regained the British record in July, angered his own coach, Frank Attoh, after continuing to jump in the World Championships in Daegu last month despite suffering a knee injury.

The injury meant Tomlinson finished 11th and regretting not havcing pulled out of the event before.

“It was a bitter pill to swallow. I’ve had to put on a brave face but deep down I have been hurting,” he said.

“It was stupid really. My coach shouted at me afterwards for it and he had every right to. It’s the way I am as a person, I just jump with my heart when sometimes it would be better to use my head.”

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