Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 06:18 GMT 07:18 UK
Jonathan Edwards Q&A on GB athletics
Allan WellsColin JacksonDarren CampbellJonathan EdwardsKelly HolmesKriss AkabusiMary PetersEnter alt textSally GunnellLord CoeSteve BackleySteve Cram

Q: How many athletics medals are the British team going to win in Beijing?

A: That's a tough question. I'll exclude the relays, because I think athletics is primarily an individual sport, so I'll focus on the individual events. I would say if we win two individual medals that would be a good result.

Q: Which events are our best hopes of medals?

A: I think we've got a great chance in the triple jump. Phillips Idowu and Nathan Douglas are both world class, we saw that in the European Indoor Championships this year. They won gold and silver with superb distances - a championship record for Philips with Nathan not far behind. If they're both fit, which is always the big proviso, they've got a real chance.

But I have to give you five medal shots to get two, that's the reality. The long jump is a possibility. Chris Tomlinson has shown this year he is getting back to his best form and he was only 5-10cm away from winning a medal in Athens. So Chris has got to be in with an outside chance.

Goldie Sayers has come through really well in the javelin. She still has a number of years of improvement within her and women's javelin isn't especially strong, so she's got that possibility.

There is a big question mark against Paula Radcliffe. Overcoming the trauma of childbirth, plus all the years of running she has in her legs, is going to be tough. But if she could get back to something like her best she could certainly medal in the marathon. I think the gold is beyond her.

I don't think Jessica Ennis is quite at medal level yet in the heptathlon. We know that Kelly Sotherton can do that but the javelin has become such a mental block for her. It's not that she can't throw the javelin, she can, but something in her head has completely gone and it's affecting her performance. With a half-decent javelin she could win a bronze. I think (world and defending Olympic champion Carolina) Kluft is out of sight and Eunice Barber is still there too. Jessica Ennis still has a little bit to go. Her shot is still weak but everything else is improving. But I think she'll fall shy of a medal.

On the track I just can't see it coming from anywhere, frankly. Maybe Becky Lyne (in the 800m).

Q: With London 2012 now just five years away, are you optimistic or pessimistic about British athletics? And why?

Jonathan Edwards
Born: 10 May, 1966 in London
Olympic record: triple jump gold (2000), silver (1996)
Other medals: World gold (1995, 2001), World silver (1997), World bronze (1993, 1999), European gold (1998), European bronze (2002) and eight other golds at leading international events
A: You would want to be in a better position but five years is a long time and we've just had two very good junior championships - the World Youth Games and the European U23s. So to predict five years out is very hard. Look at my own experience. If you took me five years before my world record nobody would have picked me for a medal.

Both Phillips and Nathan in the triple jump will still be around and doing well. Goldie Sayers again and some of the young sprinters might come through.

What I will say is that we have now the funding in place that if the talent is there it has the best possible chance of succeeding. I think it's really good that the government has backed elite sport ahead of the 2012, because I think it's really important that we have a successful home team - that's what will make a magic Games.

Q: Who are our best hopes of a gold medal in London?

A: In terms of potential and what I see out there at the moment, I think Phillips Idowu could still win a gold medal in London. He'll be 31 and if he's fit he can jump that far. I can't see anybody else at the moment that I think can be world number one.

Q: If you could make one change to improve the performance of our athletes what would it be?

A: We need a larger number of talented young kids doing it and it starts at school, that's where I started. You can have the best clubs in the world but you've got to get kids to walk through the door. Unfortunately, because of the current state of British athletics and it's cachet in the market place, it's not the obvious choice for them. And they're not getting the opportunity at school the way they used to.

I think it's about sport in school. That is one of the main focuses of the (world governing body) IAAF's plan to make athletics the number one school sport throughout the world. It's the basis of all sport - running, jumping, throwing. If you make sure as many young people get the chance to do it you will find the talent.

Q: If you could make one change to boost the sport's profile and participation levels, what would it be?

A: We need some champions. It's at both ends. It's the grass roots - the maximum number of people having an opportunity to take part - and it's role models - the Kelly Holmes, the Paula Radcliffes, the Colin Jacksons, Linford Christies, all these people. You get the inspiration right from the elite end and you need to get it right from the grass roots end - in the middle it will work itself out.

The pin-ups are in other sports at the moment. But the market is what it is. In the end it's about breaking records and winning gold medals.

GB heroes fear Beijing track flop
08 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Olympic crackdown on China's bad habits
06 Aug 07 |  Asia-Pacific
China marks one year to Olympics
08 Aug 07 |  Sport Homepage
Thompson expects low Beijing haul
21 Mar 07 |  Athletics
Who's on track for Olympic gold?
28 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us