ATHLETICS; Edwards takes the roller-blade route
Friday 14 May 1999
Britain's world record holder is approaching this year with as much desire as at any time since he began triple jumping in earnest 16 years ago, and a large part of that is down to the novel methods of training he has engaged upon since having a foot operation last September.
Even before his triumphant return to top form at last summer's European Championships, Edwards, who turned 33 on Monday, was talking about the need to maintain mental freshness in what was a long career. Accordingly, he had arranged to work with the world javelin record holder, Jan Zelezny, and Britain's European gold medallist, Steve Backley, undertaking a schedule prepared by the Czech athlete's coach, Jan Popsipil.
Thus it was that Edwards found himself in Spain and on wheels shortly before Christmas, taking part in 400 metres repetitions alongside the javelin boys on a track high up in the mountains. "It's not fun," he said. "The drill has been worked out to improve muscle balance. It requires you to move a different muscle group than you need for running."
Although he is no mean talent as a javelin thrower - he has recorded 54 metres for his club - Edwards was not tempted to join Backley and Zelezny on the runway. But he did link up with them again in January for the second phase of his winter training programme, this time at a remote base 60 miles north of Johannesburg. The effect has been to launch him towards this season's competition in the kind of shape he found himself in four years ago, when a staggering sequence of jumps in the 1995 European Cup final at Lille presaged two world record efforts at that year's world championships.
"Training with Jan and Steve provided me with a different focus which has really helped with my preparation," he said. "I think I'm probably as motivated now as I've ever been, if not more so. I've been through all the upheavals of the sudden success I had four years ago and I feel I have learned some important lessons. The thing is, the next two years, with world championships and Olympics back-to-back, will never come again for me."
Edwards plans to compete once in Europe before taking part in this year's European Cup final at Paris on 19-20 June, a week before starting his domestic competition at the Gateshead Grand Prix.
He approaches this year buoyed by the memory of his European title win, and in particular his last-round effort of 17.99m. "That jump in Budapest was a horror, but to reach 17.99m with an effort like that really opened my eyes to what I could do," he said.
A ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport may have handed Doug Walker, Scotland's European 200 metres sprint champion, his best hope yet of being cleared following a positive drugs test. On Wednesday the court dismissed a similar case involving a Swiss triathlete, and Walker said yesterday the ruling "must cast doubt on the validity of these tests".
Walker was suspended by UK Athletics, the British governing body, at the end of March after he failed an out-of-competition test last December, analysis of which revealed traces of the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone.
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo could return against Manchester United - but it won't be like previous reunions
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Midfielder set to force through move to Louis van Gaal's Red Devils - reports
Calum Chambers joins Arsenal: New £16m signing put through Arsenal initiation as he sings The Kooks in front of team-mates
Manchester United transfer news: Mats Hummels, Daley Blind and Thomas Vermaelen on radar as Louis van Gaal reveals he still wants to sign defender
New Liverpool signing Dejan Lovren forced to train with the under-21s after US visa mix-up
- 1 Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness – including don’t try to convert other people
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...