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Passport hitch stops take-off for long-jumper Chris.

Byline: By Bill McGuirk

British long jump record-holder Chris Tomlinson was not happy after he was grounded at Exeter Airport when bound for Holland.

The Tyneside-based athlete was on his way to Amsterdam to compete in an international meeting in Hengelo, but was stopped from boarding due to a passport problem.

Never one to hide his feelings, Tomlinson (left) explained: "I turned up at Exeter Airport to fly to Amsterdam, but the nice people of British European said I would not be able to travel because the picture page of my passport was damaged.

"I said to them that my passport was nine-and-a-half years-old and that I used it virtually every week, but they were unsympathetic.

"To make sure I had no further problems I sent it off to be repaired and I'm pleased to say that I've now got it back and I'll be off to France to compete in Lille tomorrow night."

Tomlinson didn't let the incident get to him, so he made his way to Manchester to compete in the British Athletics League fixture where his club, Newham and Essex Beagles, were competing.

Tomlinson had earlier let the management know he wasn't available for the match as he was competing abroad.

However, after failing to leave the country he was given the OK to compete as a guest in the league match.

He was rewarded with a wind-assisted 8.10m which improved on the League record of 7.94m set by Fred Salle in 1990.

However, because he was competing as a guest, he wasn't eligible for the man-of-the-match award and the distance won't be classed as a record.

"I only competed as a guest and didn't take any of the lads' places who had originally been selected," added Tomlinson.

"I'm not bothered about the award but it would have been nice if my efforts went into the record books."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2007
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