Sheffield sprinter helps Team GB’s mixed relay team to historic Tokyo Olympics qualification
Sheffield sprinter Lee Thompson played a crucial role as Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s mixed 4 x 400M relay team secured a historic Olympic qualification.
The athletics mixed relay event will make its debut at this year's Olympics in Tokyo, having debuted at the Doha 2019 Athletics World Championships.
Lee, who trains at City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletic Club, anchored the Great Britain and Northern Ireland (GB & NI) team to fourth spot in their heat on Saturday at the World Athletics Relays in Poland.
That secured a place in Sunday’s final and qualification for this summer’s Games, as well as next year’s World Championships in Oregon, USA.
GB & NI went on to finish fifth in the event, which was held behind closed doors in Chorzów.
“It was a reasonably good weekend,” said Lee’s coach John Henson.
"His performance on Saturday, when he achieved the time, was good. I think for everybody because of the conditions the performances were down on Sunday but fifth was a good start.
"It was a fairly nice evening on Saturday but by the time yesterday (Sunday) came about everybody was suffering with the wet and windy conditions.”
Worksop-based 24-year-old Lee did not take part in the Men’s 4 x 400M relay but is still in the running for selection for that event, having helped the team to bronze at the European Indoor Championships in March, as well as the individual 400m.
John revealed the sprinter has entered upcoming 200m events to improve his speed in the hope of meeting the qualification time of 44.9 seconds at GB & NI’s final athletics trials for Tokyo in June.
He continued: “He’s training well, it’s really geared up to peaking at the right time, which is for the trials, then achieving another peak a few weeks after, should he be selected.
"I think the chances of making the relay team are very good but it’s whether we can improve his performances to the position where he’s approaching the qualifying time for the individual.
"He’s got the endurance but he just needs to sharpen up in the speed.”