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Greg Rutherford gold at World Championships completes the set to silence critics

By Guy Aspin

Published 26/08/2015

Glory, glory: Greg Rutherford celebrates after winning gold in the long jump at the World Championships in Beijing
Glory, glory: Greg Rutherford celebrates after winning gold in the long jump at the World Championships in Beijing

A fired-up Greg Rutherford hit back at his critics after completing the full set of major titles by landing long jump gold at the World Championships in Beijing.

The 28-year-old produced his furthest jump of the year when he needed it most, soaring out to 8.41 metres to add the world crown to his Olympic, European and Commonwealth successes.

The win took Great Britain's medal tally to three - all gold.

The team rebel, who has caused controversy with his extraordinary criticism of UK Athletics, followed in the footsteps of his fellow 'Super Saturday' gold medallists from London 2012, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill, by triumphing at the Bird's Nest stadium.

Rutherford received no real challenge in a competition littered with fouls, taking the lead from round two and responding to his winning fourth-round attempt by punching the air and roaring with delight.

Silver went to Australia's Fabrice Lapierre with 8.24m and bronze to China's Jianan Wang with 8.18m.

Victory for the Briton was the perfect response to the critics who branded his Olympic win a fluke. Four major titles and a British record, all in the space of three years, is a stunning response.

"I'm Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European champion now and I hope that's enough for people to accept that I'm a half decent British athlete," said Rutherford, whose distance was his best at a major championship.

"Ultimately you've got to answer your critics on the track and I'm very much hoping 8.41m is acceptable for people."

He becomes only the fifth British athlete to hold all four major titles at the same time, following Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards.

"That's very, very special," he said.

Rutherford revealed, though, that illness almost dashed his hopes, saying he got too much sun in the warm-up for qualifying on Monday.

"I woke up with a really bad headache and I thought, 'This can't happen again'," said Rutherford who, suffering with kidney and lung infections, could only finish 10th at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"I took on loads of electrolytes, water, paracetamol to calm it down."

The outspoken father of one has criticised the absence of the Union Jack on the British vest for the championships and he donned a waistcoat bearing the flag as he celebrated.

Elsewhere, defending champion Christine Ohuruogu demolished her season's best to march into the final of the 400m.

The 31-year-old cruised to a semi-final victory in 50.16 seconds, taking 0.66secs off her previous best of the year.

Laura Muir's bid for a first major medal ended in disappointment as she came home fifth in the 1500m, with Ethiopia's world record holder Genzebe Dibaba taking gold in 4:08.09. The Scot crossed the line in 4:11.48.

Nicholas Bett continued a fantastic championships for Kenya by taking gold in the 400m hurdles in 47.79.

Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin resumed battle as the 200 metres got under way.

Two days on from riding to the rescue of his beleaguered sport, the Jamaican began his bid to add half-lap glory to his 100 metres crown.

Bolt's biggest rival once again is two-time drug cheat Gatlin and both cantered through to the semi-finals.

The former, looking to win a fourth successive 200m world crown, flew out of the blocks and won despite easing up all the way down the straight, while Gatlin cruised to victory in his heat.

"Everybody knows that it will mean a lot more - actually more than the 100m," Bolt said.

"I'm just trying to get through these rounds using as little energy as possible and then give it my best in the final."

Belfast Telegraph

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