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Funding support for Tees star Chris.

Byline: Athletics

Teesside long jump star Chris Tomlinson is named among the athletes who will benefit from UK Athletics' world class podium funding system.

This will help maintain the confidence of the British record holder, who did not enjoy the best of campaigns in 2006.

Tomlinson, who is now dividing his career between training in London at the Picketts Lock facilities and at Gateshead with coach Peter Stanley, is been fighting a long battle to stay injury free.

Despite his past problems, Chris remains totally focussed and positive, saying: "I learned a lot this year. I have matured as an athlete and I know where I am going."

He added: "My postal address will be in London from now on, but I will continue to be coached under the eyes of Peter Stanley and I expect to spend half a week down there and half a week up in Gateshead with Peter.

"I will use the Picketts Lock facilities which will be good to tap into.

"I think a fresh training environment will do me good. Some athletes can train at the same track every day for ten years but I'm not like that."

European Championship medallists Sam Ellis, Mo Farah and Becky Lyne are among five athletes who have been promoted to the world class podium funding system.

Ellis was a surprise third over 800 metres when Gothenburg hosted the championships in August while Farah and Lyne were silver and bronze medallists in the 5,000m and 800m.

AAA champion Michael Rimmer, who finished eighth behind Ellis in Sweden, and marathon runner Mara Yamauchi, have also been included in the list of 37 athletes - five less than last year.

Those on the podium programme will receive annual funding according to a sliding scale.

The 'A' standard receive pounds 23,950 per year, 'B' is worth pounds 17,9848 and 'C' pounds 11,965 and there will be a 2.9% inflation rise from next April.

UKA's performance director Dave Collins, emphasised that, although there has been a small reduction in the number of athletes supported by the podium programme, it will be possible to add further names.

Collins said: "There can be a temptation to fill every available space on a funding programme. However the choice of athletes afford us the opportunity for additions later on in the year, as well as a certain amount of flexibility.

"We have also taken care not to accelerate younger athletes to podium status before they are genuinely performing at that level, especially when they are ably supported under the world class development programme."

UKA are determined possible London 2012 medal challengers such as junior world 100m champion Harry Aikines-Aryeetey will not undergo the pressure Mark Lewis-Francis did.

Lewis-Francis, after winning the same title in 2000, was thrust overnight into the limelight and has yet to achieve the potential of his teenage performances.

This initiative tier allows the 72 selected to receive benefits from a contingency fund, including personal awards and help towards attending specialist training camps and competitions.

Collins added: "The programme continues to ensure that the athletes being supported are those with the right processes and remain accountable."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2006
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