Athletics: Edwards ready to put injured left foot forward

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The Independent Online
JONATHAN EDWARDS, Britain's triple jump world record-holder, looks certain to compete here today at the annual Grand Prix meeting at the Stade Louis II. If he does, his whole season may be at stake, writes Peter Martin in Monte Carlo.

By competing, and risking aggravating the heel and ankle injuries suffered in Stockholm on Wednesday night, Edwards will be going against the advice of Linford Christie and Brendan Foster, who both counselled rest and recovery ahead of the championship challenges of the next month.

The heel injury on his left foot is similar to that which may have cost him his world title last year. The ankle on the same leg is badly swollen.

Edwards is Britain's best bet for a European gold medal in Budapest in 10 days' time. Yet if his injuries worsen by jumping this evening or in Zurich next Wednesday, the fear is that the former world champion may jeopardise his chances of claiming the European title which has so far eluded him.

His final jump on Wednesday - 16.99 metres, more than a metre short of his world record-breaking best - won the event by just 1cm, something Edwards described as "a minor miracle".

But in what Edwards, 32, has described as "a season of multiple challenges", he obviously also wants to maintain his 12-competition unbeaten record, and his chance of scooping a share of the $1m (pounds 630,000) jackpot if he can win at all seven of the Golden League meetings. Edwards is one of eight athletes still in the hunt.

Others include Hicham El Guerrouj, who heads the field for the 1500 metres, and Frankie Fredericks in perhaps the most competitive event of the summer so far, the men's 100 metres.

Today, Fredericks will be racing against three men all in sub-10sec form in the past week: Ato Boldon, of Trinidad, and the Canadians Bruny Surin and Donovan Bailey. Bailey, the Olympic champion, has suffered a lean year, losing his world title, something which damaged his pride. As ever, when the gun goes, there will be more than money at stake.

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