Olympic champion Greg Rutherford believes the home crowd brings the best out of him after he produced his longest-ever jump on British soil at the Sainsbury’s Summer Grand Prix at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
Rutherford had been struggling with an abductor injury in the build up to the competition and wasn’t sure that he would be able to produce the goods in the Midlands on Sunday.
However, it wasn’t long before he established himself as the front runner for victory with a second jump of 8.35m enough for the win.
The 28-year-old jumped 8.31m to claim Olympic gold in 2012 and 8.20 at the Commonwealth Games last year.
But he showed that he is still at the height of his powers ahead of the World Championships in Beijing this summer and admitted he was delighted to claim victory.
“I was absolutely over the moon, it’s always great to win a competition, I knew it was going to be tough so I am chuffed to bits,” said Rutherford, speaking at the event, a partnership with British Athletics that builds on Sainsbury’s support for the 2012 Paralympics and recognises that sport can unite and inspire children of all ages.
“I was holding an injury so I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen today but in the end I only had to take three jumps and one of them was the longest I have ever jumped in the UK so I’m really happy with that.
“We will have to assess the injury, I’m a bit tight now but that’s to be expected, I will get back and do some work with it.
“To come out and put that performance down was brilliant and there were some great performances.
“I love jumping in front of a British crowd, I had that at the Olympics and it sparked everything for me.
“It’s always good to have a half-decent performance to be honest and I don’t think I have ever won here so it’s great.”
It is set to be a huge summer for Rutherford with World Championship gold the only major medal missing from his impressive collection.
And he believes the performance in the Midlands is something to build from as he goes on the hunt for more success.
“I was determined to win today,” he added. “As long as this held up I knew I had it in me jump far, 8.35 Is a decent marker but I’ve got to be jumping a bit further though.
I think now I’ve got something I can build off and get myself some big distances and hopefully get myself over the 8.50m mark again.
Sainsbury’s is a proud partner of British Athletics. The partnership reflects Sainsbury’s wider commitment to inspiring healthy lifestyles for all, and complements grassroots campaigns such as Active Kids and the Sainsbury’s School Games. www.sainsburys.co.uk