03 AUG 2000 General News

Jones believes she can break world long jump record


Reuters

4 August 2000London - World 100 metres champion Marion Jones said on Friday she was confident she could break the world long jump record with the help of her specialist sprint coach Trevor Graham.

Jones won the bronze medal at last year's Seville world championships but failed to complete her goal of four gold medals when she collapsed on the track with back spasms during the 200 metres semifinals. She was unable to take part in the 4x100 metres relay.

The 24-year-old American plans to win an unprecedented five gold medals at next month's Sydney Olympics, including one in the long jump.

"The world record might be in jeopardy," Jones told a news conference ahead of Saturday's British Grand Prix, where she will be racing over 100 metres against her American rival, Inger Miller. "I don't think I need a specialist coach," Jones said of the long jump, which critics have said is her weakest event because of flaws in her technique.

"I look at the record books, and see that I've jumped 7.31 metres, and I think Trevor has done a great job."

Jones's best, set two years ago, ranks her eighth of all time behind the world record 7.52 metres of Russian Galina Chistyakova set in 1988.

"Without doubt the speed is there," Jones said. "I just have to hit the board right and fly out a long one.

"In 1998, I was jumping further, and my technique was far worse. But there wasn't the criticism that there is now.

"People get in trouble comparing me with Jackie or Heike . They forget that I'm trying to juggle three events. I'll never be like them, I'll never have the premier long jump technique, simply because I am different to them."

Jones, who last week was named in both the American relay squads for the Olympics, for the first time stated that she would prefer not to run the anchor leg of the final women's event of the Games, the 4x400m relay, the event in which she could win her fifth gold medal.

"In the squad is Jearl Miles-Clark, and she's got so much experience in the event, while I've only ever run 400 metres a few times. I'd love to see her bring the baton home.

"The most difficult day for me in Sydney will be the final day, with the 4x100 and me ending my season by running a 400 metres. We have a squad that has four women who have all run sub-50 seconds, so there's already plenty of pressure anyway. I don't think there's room for any more pressure.

"I'd prefer to run somewhere in the middle of the team but it's out of my hands. It's a decision for the relay coaches. I'm just happy to be in the squad." hands. It's a decision for the relay coaches. I'm just happy to be in the squad."