Athletics: Morgan closes in on Lynn the leap
Sands of time running out for Britain's oldest record
Sunday 16 August 1998
It has been occupied by the venerable Welshman since 30 June 1968, the afternoon he jumped 8.23m, 27ft exactly, in a match between Great Britain and Switzerland in Berne. For more than 30 years now, since the month Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel, Lynn's leap has stood as a British record. It is the longest surviving British record by a margin of 12 years, the only one that dates back before 1980. At long last, however, it seems to be living on borrowed time. It could finally be history on Tuesday or Wednesday, when the qualifying round and final of the long jump are held in the Nep Stadion.
Having entered the world on 30 June 1978, the 10th anniversary of Davies' record, perhaps Nathan Morgan was born to the task of breaking it. It seemed so at the English schools championships in Sheffield two years ago, when the Leicester lad stretched his long limbs skywards and touched down at 7.97m. He had been helped on his way by a wind measured at 3.8 metres-per-second but at 18 the mightily gifted Morgan had ventured within a centimetre of the distance Davies achieved in Budapest in 1966, the last winning mark by a long jumper representing Great Britain at continental or global level.
Since then, under the guidance of Darrell Bunn, the coach who made Denise Lewis an Olympic and world championship heptathlon medallist, the former rugby union prodigy (he played outside centre for Leicestershire schools) has progressed in leaps and leaps. In Ljubljana last year Morgan struck gold in the European Junior Championships and this summer his talent has made an instant impression at senior level. In June he took third place in the European Cup and in the AAA Championships in Birmingham last month he crept closer to Davies' record, improving his personal best from 8.04m to 8.11m.
In Budapest, with the adrenalin pumping, 8.23m could be within Morgan's range. "I certainly think Nathan will have to jump that to get a medal," Bunn said. "I have no doubt in my mind that Nathan is capable of breaking the record, but I'm not prepared to say how soon. He's only just started being a serious athlete. He's only done one winter of proper training. There's a lot to come, a lot more."
Precisely how much more there might be to come in Budapest the engagingly modest Morgan, now 20 and a full-time athlete, is not prepared to guess either. "I never think about distances," he said. "I only think about competing. Winning is the important thing. Distance is second. With the adrenalin buzzing, I think I could come back with a medal. I wouldn't like to say what distance I could do, though."
Morgan has, however, become aware of the significance of 8.23m and the name of Lynn Davies. "I hadn't even heard of him until a couple of years ago," he said. "I still haven't met him but I wouldn't mind him being there to present me with a medal when I break it."
That "when", though, could be in Budapest this week, with Davies back in Cardiff watching time finally catch up with him on television.
Latest in Sport
England vs India report: England expects as Bell, Ballance and Buttler make B-line for victory
Louis van Gaal says he is inheriting a 'broken' Manchester United squad
Luckless Abou Diaby full of confidence as he attempts yet another Arsenal comeback
Manchester City's #AskJesus Twitter takeover quickly descends into chaos as Premier League champions are trolled relentlessly
Calum Chambers joins Arsenal: Gunners complete £16m transfer of right-back
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...
£45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mechanical L...