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Injury hits jump star
By BRAD EARL
Long jumper John Thornell's aim of breaking the 8m mark at the Olympic trials was cut short by injury.
Thornell, 18, is Australia's leading long jump contender for the Athens Olympics as the closest to have come to the qualifying standard.
He was reunited at the recent trials in SDydney with fellow former Westfields Sports High School student Fabrice Lapierre, 20, who also harbours Olympic aspirations.
Lapierre spent less than a week at home from the US, where he is in the secong year of an athletics scholarship at the Texas A&M University.
Both are proteges of vetran coachFred O'Connor, who began working with them at Westfields.
The pair is hoping to fill the void left by the retirement of Australia's two leading jumpers of recent times, Sydney Olympic silver medallist Jai Taurima and Peter Burge.
The Olympic B-qualifier is 8.05m and the A is 8.19m.
Thornell's personal best is 7.97m, set in January, but at the trials he pulled up short after the qualifying round.
"There was actually a little tear in my calf," Thornell said.
He was very dissappointed to have missed the final.
"I had a good Telstra A-series leading up to it - I won three from three of the competitions and was hoping to make it four," he said.
Thornell hopes to resume training this week with the view to competing at the weekend's ACT championships before possibly going overseas in a bid to do a qualifier. He has also been selected for the World Junior Championships in Italy in July.
Lapierre came seventh at the trials but had recently recovered from an ankle injury and improved with every jump.
O'Connor said Lapierre was confident he could do an Olympic qualifier in the coming US season.
Fabrice Lapierre FLYING VISIT... Fabrice Lapierre at the Olympic trials after coming home from the US.

Story & Photo taken from

10th March 2004


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