Greg Rutherford’s Olympic preparations suffer setback in Spain

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GREG Rutherford was left with more questions than answers on Saturday night as he finished eighth in the long-jump at the Meeting de Atletismo in Madrid, having been forced to pull out half-way through the competition.

The 25-year-old from Bletchley only jumped three times, recording a best of 7.81m before suffering with cramp, as fellow Brit Chris Tomlinson produced his best leap of the season to finish second with 8.06m.

At 8.35m, Rutherford still holds the longest jump in the world this year but will be desperate to rediscover his early season form going into the biggest event of his life next month. He has one more competition before London 2012 this weekend when he jumps at the Diamond League meet in Crystal Palace.

Australia’s world silver medallist Mitchell Watt – considered to be one of Rutherford’s biggest challengers for gold at the Olympics – won in Madrid at 8.26m, with all distances wind assisted.

Rutherford Tweeted after the competition: “Not a great night. Went into cramp and pulled out of the meet.”

And added on Monday: “Just want to confirm. No drop in form, no major injury, just a nasty cramp so I pulled out. Wasn’t going to risk anything.

“The 7.81 that I registered was 25-30cm behind the board so a good opener if I was on. Never fear.”