Greg Rutherford leaps to Commonwealth gold

Greg Rutherford
Greg Rutherford

Greg Rutherford stood on top of the Commonwealth Games podium on Wednesday night after he took gold medal in the long jump.

The Olympic champion jumped 8.20m with his third attempt, having already led the field with a leap of 8.12m.

His main contender was South African Zarck Visser, who briefly took the lead when, with Rutherford’s second attempt aborted, jumped 8.12m, moving him into gold medal position on count back.

It was a close run thing though, with Rutherford taking no chances in the final two rounds. In the fifth, he didn’t improve with a jump of 8.10m, while Visser didn’t clear 8m.

And with Visser jumping 7.94m with his final jump, Rutherford’s gold medal was secured.

Another South African, Rushwael Samaai, took bronze.

Speaking afterwards, a delighted Rutherford admitted he thought he might never jump again after an injury fraught 2013 season.

“I’m so pleased,” he said. “It’s never an easy ride. After last year, I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to jump again.

“But I’ve come away from another major tournament with a gold medal, and that’s what it’s all about.

“People thought I was a one-hit wonder, but I will do this many more times.

“They should have all major championships in Britain! I love big crowds and big stadiums, and the crowd really got behind us here.

“I enjoyed being out there, and I found myself smiling and having fun.

“I’ve been working really hard this year, and now that shows that I can still perform on the big stage, go out there and win medals.”

It caps a brilliant week for Milton Keynes’ sporting stars in Glasgow.

On Monday, England’s most successful Commonwealth Games performer, Andrew Baggaley, secured silver in the team event, after losing out to Singapore 3-1 in the final, taking his medal haul to six in 12 years, pictured above.

Also on Monday, England’s badminton team, who train in Loughton, won silver medal after losing out 3-1 to 2010 bronze medallists Malaysia in the gold medal match.