Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford is facing a race against time to prove his fitness for next month’s World Athletics Championships.
With Rutherford suffering with a hamstring injury, while British rival Chris Tomlinson has also failed to reach the A qualifying standard distance to book a place in Moscow, a decision on which of the two will be on the plane has been delayed until July 30.
Rutherford pulled his right hamstring during a Diamond League meet in Paris earlier this month, and is also a major doubt for next weekend’s big London Anniversary Games.
His latest worrying injury caps a hugely disappointing year for Rutherford who has also been troubled by a recent knee problem and has jumped no further than 8.22 metres in 2013. He jumped a season’s best 8.31m to secure gold on Super Saturday at the Olympic Stadium last summer.
It was at the last Worlds in Daegu in 2011 that Rutherford suffered a serious hamstring injury which required a major change to his jumping style in the lead-up to London 2012.
In fact Rutherford has had little luck when it comes to the second biggest competition in the athletics calendar, having also torn his hamstring three weeks before the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
He made a speedy recovery though and went on to record a then British record jump of 8.30m. The current record is 8.35m, which he shares with Tomlinson.
Rutherford, who also had to sit out of last weekend’s UK Championships and Worlds Trials, says he is confident of being fit in time for Moscow.
But with Tomlinson – who claimed the British title in Birmingham with a jump of 8.03m – in decent form, the selectors have a big decision to make come the end of the month.