Tokyo Olympics: Sheffield sprinter Lee Thompson backs Team GB's men's 4x400m relay team for medal
Sheffield sprinter Lee Thompson has backed Great Britain’s Men’s 4x400m relay team to improve their country’s fortunes in athletics at the Tokyo Games.
Despite a 75-strong team, British Athletics has won just one medal in track and field at this summer’s Olympics – teenager Keely Hodgkinson’s silver in the women’s 800m on Tuesday.
The 400m relay final is scheduled for the last day of competition on Saturday and Sheffield & Dearne AC member Thompson, 24, is one of five 400m sprinters in Team GB’s Men’s relay squad.
He ran a personal best split time of 45.42 seconds in the mixed 4x400m semi-final on Friday, having previously anchored Team GB to bronze at the European Indoor Championships in March.
“If we all pull out our best performances on the day there’s no reason we can’t make the final,” Thompson said ahead of Friday’s heats (12pm UK time).
“Once you are in the final with relays anything can happen, so we are always going to back ourselves to get a medal.”
On his mixed relay showing, Worksop-based Thompson, who was replaced by teammate Niclas Baker for the final, added: "We did a good job as a team and I’m looking to go faster in the Men’s relay.
"I really wanted to be a part of the squad for the final having helped to get them there but there is a team of five of us here so if they thought there was a better order to put out on the day, the coaches know best.”
Thompson won’t find out if he has made the team for the Men’s heats until Thursday evening, at the earliest.
The line-up could be changed for the final, if Britain qualify.
"I have no idea how they select teams so it’s always a nervy experience [going into pre-race meetings] and you wonder whether you are going to be running or not,” he added.
Whatever happens, the accountant turned international sprinter will leave Toyko happy.
"It’s been a good experience, I’m feeling grateful for being here and the Games going ahead,” he said.
"It’s just a shame with Covid that you can’t really do stuff and explore Japan. It can get a bit tedious, to be honest.
"The National Stadium is unbelievable. If they could have fans in there it would be insane.”