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Watt to jump against Oly champ
John Salvado
17:32 AEST Thu Feb 21 2013

It won't be about revenge for Mitchell Watt when he squares off in Perth and Melbourne against the man who famously beat him to claim the Olympic long jump title in London.

How could it be?

Watt and Greg Rutherford are close friends and it is now a matter of record that the British jumper won the only event that really counted in 2012, with the Australian pocketing the silver medal.

If there is to be any Olympic avenging to be done, it will have to wait until the world track and field championships in Moscow in August.

The upcoming Perth and Melbourne Track Classics will be more like preliminary skirmishes.

Even so, the 24-year-old Queenslander welcomes the opportunity to confront such high-class opposition early in the year on home soil, especially with fellow Australians Henry Frayne and Fabrice Lapierre still on the sidelines.

"It will just be good to get that competitiveness back," Watt said on Thursday.

"In terms of the head-to-head stuff, getting one back on Greg, I'm not too fussed about that.

"It was something like 7-1 before the Olympics.

"Meeting him six months out from the world champs isn't really going to benefit either of us.

"But it's the Olympic gold medallist versus the silver medallist and I can't imagine that's happened too often in Australia in track and field."

Initially struggling for motivation after the London Games, Watt toyed with the idea of heading to Arizona for a couple of months to join close friends Rutherford and Steve Hooker in Dan Pfaff's international training squad.

The timing didn't work out this time but he remains keen to revisit it in the coming years, with the blessing of coach Gary Bourne.

Having been pre-selected for the world titles courtesy of his silver-medal effort in London, Watt has relatively modest goals for the domestic season.

A jump around the 8.25m mark will confirm he is on track for bigger and better things later in the year.

"I wasn't able to jump in the Australian season last year so I'm looking forward to doing those meets again - basically come out of the end of it at nationals feeling good and looking forward to Europe," he said.

The Perth Track Classic is on March 16, with the Melbourne meet following on April 6.


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