Belfast Telegraph

UK Athletics hindering my gold bid: Greg Rutherford

By Guy Aspin

Greg Rutherford took another swipe at UK Athletics after booking his place in the long jump final at the World Championships in Beijing.

The Olympic champion, who described the national governing body as “more of a hindrance than a help” in the lead-up to the championships, claimed a “class system” within UKA was harming athletes.

“Things have not been working very well for me,” he said.

“As things come out, we’ll see there are different class systems within the system which I don’t think works well and, for me, is a massive hindrance.

“It’s safe to say there’s a bit more to come out in the coming months.

“For example, my physio arrived late last night.

“I’ve been here a week and I think 12 of his 13 athletes have been here since Wednesday and he’d been asked to stay in Japan.

“So I think there are a few silly things going on they need to change and I’m in a position to let people know what’s going on.”

The 28-year-old, who qualified for today’s final with a leap of 8.25 metres, has also heavily criticised the absence of a Union Jack on the Great Britain team’s vest.

Rutherford also demanded critics lay off Katarina Johnson-Thompson after her long jump collapse cost her a heptathlon medal.

The 22-year-old produced three no-jumps on Sunday, the final one an ever so marginal foul, to see her hopes of challenging team-mate Jessica Ennis-Hill for the title dashed in an instant.

Rutherford said the speed of the runway made controlling and adjusting timing difficult and backed the Liverpool athlete to come back firing for her individual long jump competition.

“I think what people don’t understand is this is an incredibly fast runway,” said the Milton Keynes athlete, who described the criticism of Johnson-Thompson as “out of order”.

“I heard a few comments that were a little bit harsh on her yesterday, which I think is incredibly unfair.

“I reckon if you put a speed gun on people, which we do in training quite a lot, you would be 0.1 or 0.2 of a second quicker out here and that’s a massive difference over a runway.”

Rutherford, whose leap was the second longest of the qualifying competition, behind American favourite Jeff Henderson’s 8.36m, is bidding to emulate his fellow London 2012 ‘Super Saturday’ gold medallists Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah by winning in Beijing.

A victory would give him the full set of major titles. He won the European and Commonwealth crowns last year.

In spite of that success, Rutherford has had his fair share of critics in the past, some branding his Olympic triumph a fluke.

And he said he would talk to Johnson-Thompson.

“I saw her briefly yesterday and the poor girl was absolutely devastated, I’ll be honest,” he said.

“But she’s strong, she’s very good, we all know how talented this girl is. I think when she comes out she’ll know what to do, get a safe jump in, get to that final and do something special.”

Meanwhile, defending 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu looked impressive in winning her heat, crossing the line in 51.01 seconds with plenty in reserve. Team-mate Anyika Onuora also went through.

Holly Bradshaw, back after a potentially career-threatening back injury, qualified for the pole vault final with 4.55m.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s dominance over 100 metres continued as the Jamaican retained her World crown.

Following compatriot Usain Bolt’s triumph in the men’s event on Sunday, the diminutive London 2012 champion lived up to expectations with a winning time of 10.76 seconds.

Fraser-Pryce flew out of the blocks and was so confident that she looked up at the big screen before raising her arm aloft.

Dafne Schippers’ Dutch record of 10.81 seconds netted her silver and Tori Bowie won bronze.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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