Athletics: Edwards aims to secure last reward

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By Steven Downes

JONATHAN EDWARDS, the triple jump world record holder, has admitted that today's final will be his last chance for European glory.

"I will compete up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and maybe just one year after that," Edwards, the 1995 world champion, said, "but I'm not getting any younger and I've got to start thinking about my career after athletics."

Considering that the next European championships are in 2002, Edwards must win this weekend to finish his career with any reward for being Europe's leading triple-jumper for the past six years.

"Ultimately, my career will be judged on the titles that I've won," Edwards said. "I don't feel I've done particularly badly at championships, but of course I want to win something here."

Edwards denied that he had arrived late in Budapest because of concern over an injury: "I always stay at home as long as I can. You don't want to stay in a hotel room for two days more than you really need to.

"I've got no injury problems at all," he added. "There isn't even a doubt in my mind."

Edwards said he no longer feels the pressure of being the favourite for gold: "I'm expected to win every time and jump close to the world record every time I compete. I've read the same things as I did in 1996 - that it would be a sensation if I were to lose - and I've thought, `Yes, it would be'. But it hasn't bothered me this time, it's like water off a duck's back."

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