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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
North East toasts hero Edwards
People across the North East are celebrating another astonishing triple jump from local athlete Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards, 35, jumped 17.92 metres, the equivalent of four large cars and the longest jump in the world for three years.

His feat provided the first gold medal for Great Britain at the World Athletics Championships in Edmonton.

Cramp hindered his later attempts and he collapsed in agony while attempting a final round jump.

Local inspiration

Sheila Robson, the landlady of the Corner House pub near Edwards's home in the Heaton area of Newcastle, told BBC News Online: "It was brilliant.

"l would have liked to have seen him do the third jump to see if he could beat it."

On a good day nobody can touch him

Tony Gardner, Gateshead Harriers

"My partner said he did it for the North East."

John, a regular at the pub said: "He keeps you on your toes, I was glued to the television."

Tony Gardner, chairman of the athletic club Gateshead Harriers where Edwards started training ten years ago, said: "I watched all the qualifying rounds and I am delighted.

"He was fantastic, he has just got to keep going as he is so far in excess of all the other triple jumpers in the world.

"On a good day nobody can touch him, and despite being on top of the world he is a thoroughly nice guy.

"He came to the club to give his old equipment to the less fortunate athletes, and the kids buzz around him to see what they can aspire to."

'Nation's finest'

Edwards was the first person from the North East to win an Olympic gold in athletics.

Johnathon Edwards
Edwards: "A great ambassador"
George Gill, the Leader of Gateshead Council said: "Once again Jonathan has put both Gateshead and Newcastle on the world stage.

"He is a great ambassador and role-model for the North East."

Tony Flynn, the Leader of Newcastle City Council, added: "I am delighted that Jonathan has once again proved himself to be the nation's finest athlete."

Helen Gill, a teacher at St Gabriel's church in Heaton told BBC News Online: "The church uses one of his videos in our children's club, and they all know who he is, so it helps."

The one medal which still eludes Edwards is a Commonwealth gold.

He will be welcomed back to the North East on 19 August, when he tops the bill at a televised meeting at the Gateshead International Stadium.

See also:

07 Aug 01 | World Athletics
Edwards grabs gold
06 Aug 01 | World Athletics
Edwards leaps for glory
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