Jones to long jump in British Grand Prix

Jones to long jump in British Grand Prix

Wednesday 21 April 2004

USA’s Olympic sprint champion Marion Jones will contest her first ever outdoor Long Jump competition in Britain at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Gateshead on 27 June.

World Triple Jump champion Christian Olsson of Sweden has also confirmed his participation at the meeting.

The IAAF Super Grand Prix date will marks the first visit to the North East for Jones who took bronze (6.92m) in the event in the Sydney Olympics, and is still undecided whether to go for an unprecedented five gold medals (in the 100m, 200m, Long Jump, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay) at this year’s Olympic Games in Athens.

A similar attempt four years ago in Sydney resulted in a still impressive haul of three golds and two bronze, and the Gateshead meeting could well provide an early indication of whether the long jump will form part of her Olympic programme this year.

Jones said: "I’m really looking forward to competing in Gateshead and taking part in my first ever outdoor long jump competition in Britain. It will be great to jump at such a top class meet and I’m sure that I will rise to the challenge and perform well.

“The Olympic Games are only a few months away and although I haven’t made my final decision about which events I’ll compete in, jumping in Gateshead will give me a good opportunity to assess my long jump form in competition ahead of Athens.”

Olsson to compete in Gateshead too

World outdoor and indoor Triple Jump champion Christian Olsson has also announced that he will compete at Gateshead this summer.

"It is no secret that I love competing in Britain - the crowds here seem to have taken to me after all of the great competitions I had against Jonathan (Edwards),"said the Swede.

"It will be strange coming back to his home track in Gateshead without him competing, but I am sure I will have a chat to him when I have finished my event.’’

Olsson is now unbeaten in 23 competitions and is regarded as the man most likely to challenge Edwards’ remarkable world record of 18.29m, which was set in Gothenburg in 1995.

He has already equalled the best-ever distance for the event indoors, jumping 17.83m to claim this year’s World Indoor title in Budapest, as well as taking the outdoor title with a jump of 17.72m in August last year, defeating Edwards in the process.