Olympian Ben Williams receives good luck wishes from hero and triple jump legend Jonathan Edwards

he has received a message from his inspiration

Staffordshire triple jumper Ben Williams is flying off to represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland in the Tokyo Olympics on Monday (June 19) and has been given a boost from a legend of the sport.

Jonathan Edwards CBE still holds the triple jump world record of 18.29-metres, which he achieved in 1995.

His gold medal at the Syndey Olympics five years later is what inspired eight-year-old Ben to take up the sport.

Now 29, the athlete has received well wishes from his inspiration ahead of his stay in Japan.

Edwards said: “It’s lovely that I’ve inspired somebody. One thing that makes life worth living is having an impact on somebody else. It’s quite special.

Edwards’ triple jump world record has lasted 26 years / Photo credit Ludovic Péron

“Ben also obviously has talent because he has jumped over 17 metres and has the mental resolve and tenacity to go with that.”

Williams was on the verge of quitting the sport a few years ago but will live out his “boyhood dream” in the next few weeks.

Williams inspired by ‘majestic’ Edwards

He explained how Edwards lit the spark that led him to where he is today.

“I was a young lad playing football and I didn’t know what triple jumping was when I saw Jonathan Edwards on the TV.

“It was a replay on the television news or something, when they were talking about him winning the Sydney gold medal, and I was fascinated by the majestic way he was floating in the air.

“My grandad (Ron Harper) was a big sports man and he knew something about it and he took me in the back garden and showed me how to triple jump.”

With a personal best of 17.27-metres, Williams is confident he can qualify for the finals at the Games.

He is currently the only British triple jumper to clear 17 metres in the past nine years.

However, he believes he will need to beat his PB in Tokyo if he is bring home a medal, citing a distance of 17.50-metres.

Williams is among a number of Staffordshire athletes heading to Tokyo.

City of Stoke Athletics Club teammate Jazmin Sawyers, Uttoxeter-born swimming superstar Adam Peaty, and Burton boxing bruiser Frazer Clarke are just some of the county talent heading to Japan.


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Lord Bamford sends Williams good luck message

Williams is sponsored by JCB and chairman Lord Bamford wished him well ahead of the Games.

He said: “I’m thrilled Ben has qualified and the whole team here is right behind him. We wish him the best of luck.”

Edwards added: “It’s important that Ben has got a good sponsor like JCB as well because that takes the worry out of where the money is coming from to pay the bills.

“That is until he goes on and breaks my world record and then he will get the money rolling in!” 

Williams said: “I’m about to realise my boyhood dream, so this is a thrilling and exciting time for me but I have to say that without JCB I wouldn’t be here.” 

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