Thompson backs Eaton for another world record


Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton is "a whole new breed of athlete" who is likely to break another world record at Rio 2016, according to Daley Thompson.

Eaton has been dominant in the event over the past four years, claiming gold at the London Games in 2012, before further success at the World Championships in Moscow and Beijing in 2013 and 2015.

The American is the overwhelming favourite to defend his crown in Brazil later this year, after breaking his own world record with his triumph in Beijing last year.

Eaton racked up 9,045 points on that occasion and Thompson, Olympic decathlon champion in 1980 and 1984, believes the 28-year-old can surpass that mark in Rio.

"I think Ashton is a whole breed of new athlete," Thompson told Omnisport at the publication of the HSBC Future of Rugby report.

"He's absolutely fantastic, and has been for four or five years. He's easily the best in the world and I expect him to win again fairly easily in Rio.

"I think Ashton could easily break the world record.

"I don't know how he's been performing in terms of training but I'm sure he won't even have to be at 100 per cent to break the world record, he's that good."

Mo Farah proved a huge success story at London 2012, winning gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and Thompson sees no reason why the 33-year-old cannot recreate his own feats from the 1980s and successfully defend at least one of those crowns.

"I don't know a lot about Mo as a person but what sets him apart is, I think, while he's got really good endurance, he's also got a lot of speed," he added.

"And that combination in the right person with the right mentality is clearly the combination to have because he seems to be fairly unbeatable the last few years.

"But I'm sure at the Olympic Games, people step up their preparations and they want to win there more than any other medals so it's going to be really tough, but I don't see any reason why Mo shouldn't come back with a few golds."

The HSBC Future of Rugby report revealed that participation in the sport could reach 15 million by 2026, with women set to be the primary growth driver, representing more than 40 per cent of worldwide rugby union players in a decade's time.