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Greg Rutherford wins World Championships long jump gold

From Guy Aspin in Beijing

Published 25/08/2015

Britain's Greg Rutherford competes in the final of the men's long jump athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the
Britain's Greg Rutherford competes in the final of the men's long jump athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 25, 2015. AFP/Getty Images

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.

Britain's Greg Rutherford competes in the final of the men's long jump. AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Greg Rutherford competes in the final of the men's long jump. AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Greg Rutherford competes in the final of the mens long jump final at the World Athletics Championships (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Britain's Greg Rutherford competes in the final of the mens long jump final at the World Athletics Championships (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Britain's Greg Rutherford lands in the sand in the mens long jump final (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Britain's Greg Rutherford lands in the sand in the mens long jump final (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

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. He knew he had done enough.

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 an achievement hard to put down.

"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."

Rutherford has attracted most headlines for his scathing attack on UKA, saying athletes were scared to speak out against the governing body and that he was prepared to become an "outcast" to highlight their problems and concerns.

Great Britain's Greg Rutherford celebrates winning gold in the Long Jump Final during day four of the IAAF World Championships at the Beijing National Stadium, China. Photo: PA
Great Britain's Greg Rutherford celebrates winning gold in the Long Jump Final during day four of the IAAF World Championships at the Beijing National Stadium, China. Photo: PA

Rutherford's comments have prompted a backlash, with Michael Johnson telling the BBC he "makes a lot of inflammatory comments but there isn't a lot of explanation".

Johnson told the Briton to "do more jumping - less talking".

"Well Michael, how do you like me now?" responded Rutherford.

Greg Rutherford of Great Britain (L) is congratulated by Mike Powell after winning gold in the Men's Long Jump final (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Greg Rutherford of Great Britain (L) is congratulated by Mike Powell after winning gold in the Men's Long Jump final (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Milton Keynes athlete certainly seemed focused on the task at hand on Tuesday. He produced a huge foul on his first attempt, but readjusted his run-up and got it right in round two, flying out to 8.29m and into the lead.

Jeff Henderson, his big rival for gold crashed out of the competition after only three jumps. The American was inconsolable.

Rutherford seemed to be one of the few getting his run-up right - at least most of the time - and when he leapt out to 8.41m he knew he had one hand on the title. And so it proved.

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 Olympics in Beijing.

"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.

"I'm supported by an incredible family," he added. "My dad's downed tools and built me a long jump runway in my back garden. He's an incredible guy and my mum is equally special for putting up with him.

"And I've (girlfriend) Suzie and (baby son) Milo waiting for me. I've been watching videos of that little boy all day. I can't wait to get home, see him, celebrate and share this moment with him."

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 time of the year.

Laura Muir's bid for a first major medal of her career 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 left herself too much to do and was never in contention, despite finishing strongly, crossing the line in 4:11.48.

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

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