Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Gregory Thompson (August 2017)

(Born 5.5.94)

Gregory Thompson, at 23 years old in 2017, has a ‘Great Future’ as a discus thrower.
His best mark was when he hurled the 2K implement out to 60.28, on the 5th of May 2017. He was competing for the University of Maryland, where he is studying. He won the event in College Park, Maryland, USA.
I talked to him for the second time, on the 30th of July 2017, after he came 3rd in the CAU Inter Counties Championships at Bedford, with a throw of 55.21. However, I would point out here that he won the CAU Inter-Counties and England Championships with 56.50 in 2016, when he was still, an Under 23 athlete. Richard Priestley, who managed the Middlesex Men’s team that was the winning county in 2017, said “You can always rely on Greg.”
I also noted that, right at the start of his career, as an Under 13 he won three consecutive London Inter-Club discus competitions in 2006, showing his obvious potential for the event. His best shot to date was 15.75 with a 7.6K shot, winning the Southern Inter-Counties at Kingston, on the 2nd of July 2017.
One must point out here that he belongs to Shaftesbury Barnet AC which his father Neville Thompson also belongs to. Neville still competes in open competition as an ‘Over 60’ athlete, and was a World Masters Champion back as a 45 year old. He coaches 11 throwers so; his influence on his son is obvious here. Both Father & son are prolific competitors

Interview with Greg Thompson

When you started did you ever think you would get as far as you have?
"I have grown up under the tutelage of my Dad who has thrown 56 metres (55.58 with 2K & 57.56 with 1.5k) - I always kind of wanted to better that. That was my early aspiration for sometime, I have known 60 metres is possible and even further, Round 62/63 metre mark. Then again, I think I have a long way to go so; I have not limited myself yet, to where I think I have arrived at so far. There is a lot more can be done on my part. Obviously making the World Championships & Olympics teams, throwing those kind of distances and be high up on the World rankings. When growing up I would think 60 metres is an insane distance to throw, having only thrown 40 and then only thrown 50."

University of Maryland:-
‘I am doing a double degree. In Kinetics, a science equivalent and philosophy.

Great subjects!
‘A mix and match with those two things. I am passionate about. One satisfies the body & one satisfies the mind. I think I have got the perfect blend, to see my collegiate career along its way’

When you go to college America you have to think like that, to get the best out of it?
‘Definitely'. Just doing a sports science degree did not resonate with me. I felt I needed something to tickle the mind. I sat in on a philosophy class last term. Something just clicked. I thought I need to be doing this. I have a perfect blend as I said before.’

That will see you through
‘I hope so. I hope I can apply that to every competition. Even my bad days are some of my best days. As I have said, I have a long way to go and always hungry for more. We are just going to keep pushing till we find the formula’

When we talked before, you were interested in doing the World Youth Games?
‘I just missed that but I qualified for the Commonwealth Youth Games but I was not selected.’
‘My first international debut was the European Junior Championships in 2013. (Rieti, Italy 10th with 55.96 with 1.75k disc and the day before qualified with 56.13)
How did you get on?
‘I was unfortunate I suffered a fairly bad health issue of sorts, a health scare, which sidelined me for the rest of the season. For the 2014 season I was just competing 'willy nilly'. I hardly trained and lost a ton of weight. 2015 I was set for a European Under 23 Championships unfortunately, because of my eligibility criteria with the Americans, I had to put that season off. 2016 I was ineligible to compete for the University of Maryland for the first year, being competing in 2014, a load of politics.
It has been a really ‘stagger’ 4 years. This is the first season really (2017) I have been healthy for most part and back competing on my terms, as much as I expect more from myself.
I have taken almost 4 years off. I am not going to get instant results within a year, as much as I would appreciate that. I have just got to get the hunger. I have a fair amount of time left trying to get bigger distances done early so, I have long career to look forward to go up the ranks.

After my track athletics I did marathons for 20 years amongst those were the first 19 London’s!
He gently laughed at that and said “I would not mind if I did 20 years of solid good competition.’

There is someone called Al Oerter (4 Olympic Discus Golds) who I interviewed and, he appeared to have a very balanced view on competition.
‘Al was a king on his day but, not necessarily in his technique. His mental approach was second to none. That is something my American coach Roland Desonier, at the University of Maryland, drills into me, having the right  sort of mind set, like with today (30/7/17) you lose your way. (3rd in the Inter-County final won by Alan Toward with 57’59 ) - Sometimes the mental takes over,you lose your head a bit and wonder what went wrong. It is always about constant development. You are never going to have the perfect throw. There will always be something wrong. I have just got to keep plugging away till I get it right.’

‘My Dad won the World Vets in 2005. He had left a good legacy and was 2nd in 2007. He is a kind of legend in British athletics. Doing the AAA’s for about 25 years or so. Tweaked on British Masters records. It would be really nice if I could do that and have a really illustrious career, then have fun and do veterans athletics and coaching on the side. We have options but I am only 23.”

Alastair Aitken

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