Olympic long-jump hopeful Jonathan Moore believes he has a real advantage going into the Great Britain selection trails for the Bejing Olympics - not only are they on home soil but the Birmingham-born youngster will have the support of his home town behind him too.
Moore - son of former Olympic triple jumper Aston Moore - may even have one or two of the city’s most well-known sporting sons in the crowd cheering him on at the National Championships at the Alexander Stadium next month after revealing he grew up with Birmingham flyweight boxer Don Broadhurst and shared school physical education lessons with Aston Villa midfielder Isaiah Osbourne, West Bromwich Albion striker Luke Moore and Luke’s Walsall FC brother Stefan.
The Birchfield Harrier consistently jumps around eight metres but must make a jump of at least 8.20m to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in just a few weeks’ time but feels he is in with a chance of one of the three places in the long jump team that are remaining - especially if his fans get behind him at the trials from July 11-13.
Moore, aged 24, said: “I am a Birmingham lad - born and bred and grew up in Erdington. I have always lived in Birmingham and will always live in Birmingham and I am proud of my city and where I am from.
“It is great for me to be competing on home soil. I jump well here and I train here every day - at least six days a week - so there is every chance I can make the 8.20 I need for the Olympics.
“As a child I used to come here all the time and watch the AAAs. I watched Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Colin Jackson and it is incredible to think I will be competing where they have competed and where they qualified for the Olympic Games.
“That gives me great inspiration that perhaps I can qualify for the Olympics here too.”
It was perhaps pertinent that Moore’s father encouraged him into athletics as almost everyone else at his school turned to football.
He said: “It was all football, and while I played it too, I loved my athletics. In my PE lessons at Hodge Hill School we had Isaiah Osbourne who is now at Villa and the Moore brothers, Luke and Stefan.
“I did love to kick a ball around with them but I knew, even then, I preferred playing in the sand!
“Then we got to 16 or 17 I was told I had to concentrate solely on my atheltics if I was going to make it work.”
Moore believes the fact athletics fans will now he is a Birchfield Harrier will get them behind him and lift him in his quest to make Beijing.
He said: “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 also hopes his football pals might drop in and support him - if their club responsibilities allow.
He said: “I am also great friends with Birmingham boxer Don Broadhurst who I hang around with to this day. We both grew up on the same estate so you could say Erdington is a real hotbed for sport!”