GREG Rutherford had to sit and watch while his Olympic long-jump rivals produced strong performances in the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace last night (Friday).
Rutherford decided to pull out of the event as a precaution because of a slight hamstring strain, with British rival Chris Tomlinson delivering a season’s best leap of 8.26m to take second place behind Australia’s Mitchell Watt who jumped 8.28m.
There was also a personal best from Britain’s J.J Jegede who jumped 8.11m, but it’s Rutherford and Tomlinson who will wear the red, white and blue in the Olympic Stadium next month.
Rutherford Tweeted: “Sorry I’m not there tonight guys. I’ve decided to rest my body and get ready for the big show. Good luck to everyone there.
“Great jumping from the guys tonight. SB for Chris and a PB for JJ. Really wish I was there now!”
The challenge for Rutherford now is to make it to the Games in peak condition having suffered with hamstring injuries throughout his career. The 25-year-old also had to drop out of a competition in Madrid after three jumps last weekend when he suffered with cramp.
However, it has largely been a season of highs for the man from Bletchley who comfortably won the Olympic Trials in Birmingham with a best of 8.12m. That came after his Diamond League win in Rome back in May when he reached 8.32m – three weeks after equalling Tomlinson’s British record of 8.35m in the USA.
That is still the longest jump in the world this year, making Rutherford the second favourite for Olympic gold behind Watt.