AN Olympic long jumper has backed ambitious plans to build a high-quality running track in Sedgefield.

Team GB athlete Chris Tomlinson is supporting Sedgefield Harriers' £450,000 Back the Track campaign to create a synthetic running track at Sedgefield Community College.

Mr Tomlinson, of Middlesbrough, was shown the proposed site for the track on Monday evening (April 29) and was given an update on the club's fundraising campaign.

The 31-year-old also helped coach one of the club's junior training sessions.

Mr Tomlinson, who represented Britain at the London Olympics, said: "I think the track is crucial for Sedgefield Harriers to continue to progress.

"I got into athletics when I was 11. I started off sprinting and then moved on to long jump.

"Athletics clubs like Sedgefield nurture young talent and I am thrilled to support their campaign."

Founded in 2005, Sedgefield Harriers now has about 100 senior members, 150 juniors and 50 under-sevens.

In 2011, the club was crowned Development Club of the Year and UK Athletics Club of the Year in 2011.

Mr Tomlinson is not the only Olympian to support Back the Track, with runners Allison Curbishley and Steve Cram and decathlete Daley Thompson also speaking out in favour of the campaign.

Sedgefield Harrier Ean Parsons said: "Having the support of athletes like Chris means the world to us. The kids are so excited."