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Moore's ready to take the long jump from Birmingham to Beijing; Lisa Smith on the Birmingham hopeful who is delighted to see athletics coming home, just in time for his biggest day.

Byline: Lisa Smith

Birmingham's Olympic long jump hopeful Jonathan Moore has a very special reason for wanting to qualify for Beijing this summer - to mark a unique double for his family.

For the 24-year-old would follow in the footsteps of his father, Aston Moore, who was an Olympic triple-jumper in the late 1960s and 70s and few athletes can boast a family history like that.

Moore Junior started out as a triple-jumper before an injury forced him out of the sport. He then turned to long jump and took to it so

well that he is now within a whisker of qualifying for the Olympics himself.

The Erdington-born athlete says his father was his inspiration and hopes he will be able to keep the proud family tradition going - provided he can jump the qualifying distance of 8.20 metres at the National Championships and British Olympic trials in Birmingham next month.

He said: "My dad was a triple jumper and he definitely inspired me to take up athletics, although he wasn't a pushy father - he just encouraged me.

"When I started at the age of eight or nine, triple jump - which was his sport - was my preferred sport but then an injury pushed me out. Now I want success as a long jumper and if I can achieve a place in the Olympic squad at the qualifiers at the Alexander Stadium next month, then that will be fantastic."

Moore is delighted that the Nationals are back in Birmingham, having been moved to Manchester and the city's new Commonwealth Games Stadium in 2004.

"It is important for me and for the city that the event is back here," he reflects. "I have always wanted to compete here in the Nationals and now is my chance. I feel like the event is coming home.

"I competed in Manchester and won a couple of medals but I haven't got a gold yet and to get one here would be amazing. People know I am from Birmingham. They know about Birchfield Harriers through people like Denise Lewis. There is a long tradition here when it comes to athletics.

"I would expect the crowd to perhaps give me a bit of applause as I am local to help me on my way."

Moore's father coached him until he joined Ted King at Birchfield and Moore's earliest memories are watching his dad coaching the likes of Ashia Hansen at the very stadium where he will pursue his own Olympic dream next month.

He added: "I know I can jump 8.20 but now it is up to me to come here and prove to everyone that I can do it.

"It might be as an athlete that you just have a fantastic day and hit your target distance once but I want to be doing it consistently."

Birchfield Harrier Julie Hollman goes in search of the Olympic A qualifying standard this weekend as part of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team bidding for continental glory in the European Cup of Combined Events.

The 31-year-old is Britain's No 1 ranked heptathlete, due in part to injuries sustained by Jessica Ennis and Kelly Sotherton, and needs another 59 points if she is to make the 6,000 mark recognised as world class.

She is joined in the event, which takes place in Hengelo in The Netherlands, by Birchfield team-mate Louise Hazel who will be competing in her first full heptathlon of the season.

The men's team includes another Stag, Oliver McNellis and current British leader Daniel Awde of Woodford Green & Essex Ladies who will seek to confirm the form that saw him achieve an Olympic B Standard at the England CE championships at the start of the month.

The men will compete in the First League in Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Men (Jyvaskyla)- Daniel Awde (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies); Ben Hazel (Basiingstoke & Mid Hants AC); Oliver McNeillis (Birchbeld Harriers); Richard Reeks (Bournemouth AC)

Women (Hengelo)- Phyllis Agbo (Thames Valley); Grace Clements (Dartford Harriers); Louise Hazel and Julie Hollman (both Birchbeld Harriers)
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 28, 2008
Words:672
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