Greg Rutherford maintains superb start to Olympic year with Diamond League win

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GREG Rutherford is the best long-jumper in the world this year, and proved it in style on the big stage when he won the Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday.

On a great evening for British athletics, the 25-year-old from Bletchley leaped 8.32m to win just a few days after his victory at an International Meeting in Morocco where a jump of 8.17m was good enough to finish top of the pile.

It’s been a fantastic start to the 2012 season for Rutherford who equalled Chris Tomlinson’s British record of 8.35m in the USA last month. That is currently the best jump in the world this year.

In Rome, his national rival finished fourth with a best of 7.77m and Rutherford was a massive 12cm clear of second placed South African Khotso Mokoena. Russian Aleksandr Menkov was third on 8.17m. After recording 8.04, 8.07 and 8.11m, the two had overtaken Rutherford before he sealed victory with his huge final jump.

There was also success for Chris Clarke who ran the third leg in the 4x400m relay as Great Britain won comfortably in a time of 3m 01.76s.