GREG Rutherford’s Athletics World Championships dream ended in a nightmare after suffering a serious hamstring injury that prevented him from challenging for a medal.
The 24-year-old from Bletchley went down clutching his right leg after his second round leap during the long-jump heats on Thursday at the Daegu International Stadium in South Korea.
Rutherford recorded a first round leap of 8.00m, but was unable to go again after suffering the injury on his next jump and was forced to watch the rest of the Championships from the stands.
His jump of 8.00m was still only narrowly off the standard to make Friday’s final – eventually won by USA’s Dwight Phillips who retained his title with a best leap of 8.45m as Rutherford’s British rival Chris Tomlinson finished in 11th place.
“Words really can’t describe how I currently feel,” said Rutherford after suffering his hamstring injury. “I’ve never been in better shape and my body let me down. Sadly my right hamstring went on take off.
“The scan showed what seems to be a pretty nasty tear so I’m utterly devastated. It shows how things can go terribly wrong. I’ve never been so close to tears over the sport before. I believed this one was mine.”
Rutherford was one of three city athletes flying the flag for Britain in Daegu, with relay runners Craig Pickering and Chris Clarke also in action on the biggest athletics stage before next year’s London Olympics.
However, both were part of British teams which failed to pick up medals against the might of the USA, South Africa and Jamaica.
Clarke impressed in running the third leg of GB’s 4x400m team, but after scraping their way through to the final as fastest losers in the heats, they eventually finished in 7th place.
Their cause wasn’t aided by the late withdrawal of Dai Greene from the final after he picked up Britain’s first gold of the Championships in the 400m hurdles the previous day.
Greene decided to pull out of the side following the warm-up, leaving a quartet of Richard Strachan, Nigel Levine, Clarke and Martin Rooney.
Britain’s relay woes continued on Sunday when the 4x100 team failed to finish the final, won by Jamaica in a new world record time of just 37.04 seconds. After Pickering, running the second leg, had passed the baton on to Marlon Devonish, Britain’s fourth leg runner Harry Aikines-Aryeetey collided with USA’s Darvis Patton on the final changeover, denying both teams the chance to challenge for a medal going down the home straight.
“Darvis Patton hit Harry and fell into Poland’s lane. It’s inexcusable,” said Pickering. “We should have got the baton round, we should have got a medal. It’s really disappointing.”
More reaction on Thursday