Rutherford ruled out as Sawyers and Proctor added to British Athletics' World Championships squad

Rutherford ruled out as Sawyers and Proctor added to British Athletics' World Championships squad

25 July 2017 / 10:34

A gutted Greg Rutherford will not have the chance to defend his title as long jump world champion after injury ruled him out of the upcoming IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

Rutherford had initially been named in the British Athletics squad but a series of injuries – including an ankle ligament blow – has kept him from competing in front of his own fans.

European 60m indoor champion Richard Kilty has also had to pull out with injury but, with five additions to the squad, British Athletics will take its largest-ever contingent to a World Championships, as 81 athletes head to the Olympic Stadium.

That includes British long jump record holder and 2015 world silver medallist Shara Proctor, while Jazmin Sawyers – European silver medallist last year – will also take to the field.

Rio 2016 Olympian Lennie Waite has been selected for the 3000m steeplechase, while 5000m runner Marc Scott and 400m hurdler Jess Turner will also compete on the track.

But for Rutherford, the answers surrounding his injuries were not the ones he wanted to hear, with the London 2012 Olympic champion devastated not to be able to compete in front of home fans.

“In the last few days I have had to accept an unfortunate reality. I did everything I could, but a string of injuries at the worst possible time means I will be unable to defend my world title in London" said Rutherford. 

“With an incredible start to the year in training, and very promising early season form, I have had a difficult series of setbacks as the season progressed. Most recently, a badly damaged ankle ligament and a sport’s hernia, really put paid to my plans.

"The injuries have taken longer to heal than we hoped, and I have been unable to even jump at all in training, let alone compete.

“I am truly gutted. That stadium is such a special place for me, I am so devastated that I won’t be competing in front of the best fans in the world, in the stadium that changed my life.

“But, I’ll definitely be there to support my British team mates and soak up what will be an amazing atmosphere, and an amazing Championships.

“My focus will now turn to 2018 and becoming a three-time European champion on the trot, something no long jumper has ever done before.”

But despite Rutherford's disappointment, performance director Neil Black is excited to see other stars show just what they are made of in the big moment.

“Shara is a world medallist and was one jump away from being world champion in 2015," he said.

"If she can put a good series of jumps together there is no reason why she can’t once again be challenging for the podium.

“Jazmin is a championship performer.  She made the Olympic final last year and walked away with silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.  We look forward to seeing what she can produce in London.”

Sportsbeat 2017

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