British record-holder Chris Tomlinson has set himself up perfectly for what will be an intriguing long jump contest at next weekend's Norwich Union European trials in Manchester.
Tomlinson moved to equal top of this year's UK ranking alongside Greg Rutherford after producing an eight metres nine centimetres leap in Bad Langensalza, Germany, on Saturday.
The Olympic final-ist, who is determined to regain world-class status after an injury-troubled 2005 season, finished third behind Jamaica's James Beck-ford, who recorded 8.25m, and Botswan a ' s G a b l e Garenamotse, who reached 8.19m.
His coach Peter Stanley, who guided the career of world triple jump record-holder Jonathan Edwards, believes Tomlinson is now on the mend and ready to to approach his 8.27m national record. "He's looking good and feeling very good as well.
His confidence is high," said Stanley.
Stanley also rates the 18-year-old Rutherford, last year's European junior champion, and expects Birchfield Harrier Nathan Morgan, whose lifetime best is just a centimetre short of Tomlinson's domestic record, to ensure lively competition when the trials begin on Saturday.
"Obviously Greg is jumping very well at the moment," Stanley said of the teenager, who bounced back after flopping in Malaga with an eight-metre jump in Salamanca on Thursday.
"Nathan jumped 8.00m and 7.93m in competitions last month, so the three of them are coming along quite nicely." British No 1 Tim Benjamin has confirmed he will challenge for a place in the team for next month's European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg.
Benjamin, last year's fastest European 400m runner, was delighted after finishing second in a time of 46.38 seconds in Tenerife on Saturday to prove his fitness. The Welshman's run itself was not exceptional but the race, like every other event at the competition, was ruined by gale-force winds.
"It was just the result he was looking for before going to the trials in Manchester next weekend," said Benjamin's manager Ricky Simms. "Tim is confident he can claim a place in the British side and is determined to prove to everyone he will be an asset for Gothenburg." ..SUPL: