JONATHAN Edwards says it will be a great reward for perseverence if Oxford City triple jumper Nathan Douglas can make the Olympics.
Edwards, a former Olympic champion and still world record holder for the event, feels that Douglas has been through a “horrific” time due to injury.
But he believes the 29-year-old has the talent to make it to London 2012.
Douglas is working his way back from a freak ankle injury sustained in training last year, the latest in a series of setbacks to have hit the unlucky Oxford athlete.
“Making it to the Games would be a good reward for his persistence,” said Edwards.
“Lots of athletes would have given up (if they were) in his position.
“Had it not been for the pull of 2012, he might not have kept on for as long as he had.
“It has been a horrible time for him. He is really talented.
“I remember him jumping 17.64m in 2005 Manchester to win the world trials.
“He got a silver medal in the Europeans in 2006 and then he had a great competition against Phillips Idowu in the European Indoors in 2007 when he was catching Phillips up with every jump and just fell short.
“Then it has just been a catalogue of injuries since. It has been horrific for him.”
Edwards added: “If he can make the team, that will be a great thing for him.
“Obviously, Phillips is way out ahead of anybody else in the country, but behind Phillips there is nobody who is really pushing him.
“If Nathan can get the qualifying distance, which will be about 17.15, he should go.
“I really hope he does that and then maybe you never know.
“He will have to be ready for the trials in June, which will mean doing two or three competitions beforehand, or at least one.”
Edwards, who is now the athlete representative on the London Olympic organising committee and a TV pundit, still keeps the triple jump close to his heart.
And he would be delighted to be commentating on Douglas at London 2012.
Edwards said: “It is clear how much talent Nathan has, but, honestly, it is very difficult to see him getting back to anything like that form because he has been injured for so long.
“He may well have enough to get to the Games.
“He is a good enough athlete to have been competitive in an Olympic final and I’m not sure that he will ever get back to that, which is really sad.
“Luck has certainly not been on his side.”