Rutherford backs his world selection despite qualifying miss

14 August 2013 / 10:43

Greg Rutherford still believes that he was the right man for the job despite failing to reach the long jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

Despite becoming Olympic champion last year, Rutherford’s road to Russia was far from smooth after he picked up a hamstring injury that kept him out of the British Championships.

Rutherford still hadn’t hit the required A qualifying standard, his season’s best sitting three centimetres down on that mark at 8.22m, but neither had compatriot Chris Tomlinson.

British Athletics performance director Neil Black gave them a further two weeks after the formal squad announcement with Rutherford then given the nod having proven his fitness.

That irked Tomlinson, who failed to jump 8.25m thereafter but was in form, and in Moscow Rutherford’s best of 7.87m saw him finish 14th in qualifying, two places shy of the final.

Tomlinson reacted to the performance with a tweet displaying his anger that he then deleted but Rutherford is adamant the selectors were still right to give him the thumbs up.

“That is definitely not the outcome I expected to say the least,” he said. “It is gutting to come into something feeling great again, have all the expectations in the world and then not be good enough – that is ultimately what it comes down to.

“I just did everything I possibly could to be picked. I have jumped better this year [than Tomlinson] and I got myself fit again. As much as it wasn’t a particularly great set of jumps I am not in pain so I can’t be that badly injured at this moment in time.

“For both Chris and I there was a standard set and we should have jumped it. We are both good enough to jump 8.25m and we didn’t do that this year. I felt for Chris and it would have been great to have us both at the worlds.

“But that has nothing to do with me if Chris makes it or doesn’t, I just have to do what I have to do to make the championships. Ultimately I am still British No.1 as it stands, I have jumped further than him multiple times this year and I have beaten him nearly every time apart from where I got hurt.

“I think in any event if you are looking at somebody who has the better distance that year, won more head-to-heads and has a major title behind them it is a no brainer as to who should get selected.

“Chris is going to obviously be upset but there is nothing I can do about that. We were both in a bad situation having not jumped an A qualifier and that is what it comes down to.

“We both had plenty of opportunities and when speaking to Neil Black he gave us a two-week extension and he didn’t give that to anyone else. We should have got the job done.”

There was also disappointment for Sophie Hitchon, the newly crowned European under-23 hammer champion, as her best qualifying throw of 68.56m saw her finish 19th, with only the top 12 going through to the final.

“I wanted to come and enjoy it and it just didn’t happen. I felt good coming into it but sometimes it just doesn’t happen, there were a lot of girls who went out with big personal bests,” she said.

“In January I didn’t even think I was going to be here, so looking at it like that it’s a good thing. I also won my age-group championships so I can’t be too disappointed with how the season has gone as a whole, but it’s difficult with this result.”

However there was better news for Chris O’Hare as despite finishing his 1500m heat in eighth his time of 3:38.86minutes was good enough to see him qualify for the semi-finals as one of the fastest losers.

“I knew when I was coming in here that I was going to have to push it hard,” he said. “I was trying to win like it was a gold medal.

“I did not have as much as I would have hoped in the last 100m but these guys are the best in the world and I will take something home from that and try and save a bit more for the last 100m.

“I had not watched the other heats all that attentively, I just went into my race knowing that I was going to have to run with a lot of heart and a lot of guts and that’s what I did.”

© Sportsbeat 2013