Athletics: Edwards refuses to give up on world dream

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The Independent Online

Jonathan Edwards is optimistic he can overcome an ankle problem and defend his world triple jump title in Paris on Saturday.

The 37-year-old world record holder, who injured his ankle earlier this month in the Norwich Union London Grand Prix, was positive yesterday that he would be able to line up in the World Championships qualifying round after an amazing recovery.

"Things haven't been going too badly," Edwards said. "There is nothing to say I won't be going. I'm having to push on. There are things that say I cannot go, but things are still in the balance."

He added that he hoped to combine competing at the championships with some commentary work for the BBC. "Hopefully, I will be competing, but definitely I will be commentating," Edwards said.

Daniel Caines, the indoor 400 metres specialist, is determined to produce his best form in Paris. Winner of the world indoor title in 2001, Caines narrowly lost to Tyree Washington when attempting to defend his gold medal in his home city of Birmingham during March.

With the two fastest one-lap times in the world this year, his American rival is the favourite to win another gold medal in the Stade de France when the final takes place next Tuesday. Caines, however, will go into his first outdoor World Championships with his confidence boosted because the hip injury which has troubled him all summer has finally healed.

Now the Swansea University law graduate feels that after some frustrating performances this season he can fulfil his medal potential in Paris. "I've not been running the times I am capable of this season, but I know why and I've sorted it out," Caines said after completing his final preparations when clocking his fastest-ever 200m time of 20.84 seconds in the BAL Golden Jubilee Cup final in Bedford on Saturday. He also contributed a 46.0sec leg in helping his club, Birchfield Harriers, to victory in the 4x400m relay.

"I've had a pelvic problem that restricted my knee lift, so each stride was several inches less than it should be. Now, the physio has worked and I'm striding out fully which means I don't have to take so many steps to get round the track. I have trained hard. I have put the work in with the weights. "

There is the possibility Caines could be joined in the British team by Tim Benjamin, who achieved the qualifying time at the Zurich Golden League meeting on Friday. Although entries officially closed 48 hours before the European Under-23 silver-medallist clocked a personal best - and the fastest time by a Briton this season - of 45.27sec, UK selectors are looking for a loophole and there is a precedent which could help his cause.

Two years ago, when the then Commonwealth and European 400m gold medallist Iwan Thomas qualified after the closing date, Sandro Giovannelli, competitions director of the world governing body, the IAAF, authorised a late entry.

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