Sheffield sprinter marks birthday weekend with European Indoor Championships medal
A Sheffield sprinter marked his birthday weekend in style by helping Great Britain to a bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships.
Lee Thompson who turned 24 on Friday and trains at City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletic Club, anchored the GB men’s relay team to third place in the final of the 4 x 400m in Toruń, Poland on Sunday.
The Worksop-based athlete also made the semi-final of the men’s 400 metres.
Lee’s trainer John Henson, who spoke to him after the relay, said: "He was really over the moon with the result and what they have achieved.
“It was a great pleasure from my point of view because he’s got the rewards for all the work and effort he’s put in.”
Attention has now turned to selection for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
John, aged 77, who has been coaching for 50 years, said: "It’s almost certain that he will be selected for the relay but at this point we are working towards individual selection as well but it’s a very, very high bar.
"We hope everything goes right but if it doesn’t it won’t be for a lack of trying.”
Lee previously competed at the 2019 World Championships in Doha and won gold in the 4 x 400m relay at the 2017 European U23 Championships.
John, himself a former athlete who trained alongside Olympic gold medallist Seb Coe when he was based in Sheffield, added: "There have been other athletes in the area who have shown very great promise but I think Lee is the one who stands out head and shoulders above others.
“Lee is at the stage where he is definitely one of the most promising sprinters in this area for quite a number of years.”
Lee works full time as an accountant and receives no funding, despite representing his country at international level. He also combines work and training with studying for a qualification in accountancy.
John has trained him since 2016 and added: “I admire him as a person. He’s a good lad, has been a great asset to the club and he’s a great advert for the sport in general.”
“He does need some support from somewhere and if he gets it I think he’s got a bright future."