Angry Greg Rutherford says: I’ll shut my critics up by jumping far

Katarina Johnson-Thompson pulled out of an indoor pentathlon through illness yesterday

National Indoor Arena, Birmingham

The Olympic long jump champion, Greg Rutherford, has hit back at his critics after returning to competition for the first time in six months, saying he will “shut up everybody by jumping far”.

Rutherford has struggled with a series of hamstring injuries since winning gold at London 2012. His return to action was delayed in Glasgow last month by a hamstring tear, his withdrawal leading to an on-air rebuke from BBC pundits and former Olympic champions Denise Lewis and Jonathan Edwards.

Rutherford finally returned to competition on Saturday at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham, matching his personal best indoors of eight metres to finish third.

“This has been a good day for me and, hopefully, it will start to silence a few of those people when they realise I can still compete,” he said. “When I was a kid and I was always trying to get to where I eventually got to, a lot of people said it’d never be me, I’d never be the guy to do it, and it seems I got there and now people are telling me I will never do it again. Well, I am very much driven and able to do it again.

“It makes me angry when former athletes have a pop; they are very quick to forget how it was when they were athletes. I’m Olympic champion – does that deserve respect? I’d like to think so. I can’t make everybody like me, so I’m going to keep jumping and aim to come back with another title. I’ll use it as motivation. I’ll shut everybody up by jumping far.”

Rutherford was responding to comments by Edwards, who had said in Glasgow: “It was a shock when he won the title. He’s fragile and was lucky in London it all came together.” Lewis had said: “You are defined by the decisions you make and the personality you exude after that title. I’m not sure Greg has managed himself well.”

The 27-year-old admitted he had been both hurt and bemused by the criticism. “I am waiting to find out why certain individuals want to have a bit of a pop at me,” he said. “I think it’s all very unnecessary. Most of these people I know quite well and have always got on with, and I genuinely have no idea why they are doing this. Nobody’s explained why, no one’s said it to my face, and that’s what I find more frustrating.”

Despite achieving the qualifying standard, Rutherford will miss next month’s World Indoors in Sopot, Poland, in order to stay fit for his long-term goal of the Commonwealth Games. Rather than travel to Poland, he will train in San Diego before the outdoor season.

The hopes of Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson competing in the World Indoors pentathlon suffered a setback when she withdrew from her sole qualifier in Apeldoorn, in the Netherlands, yesterday because of illness.

The Liverpudlian competed in the hurdles before pulling out and described herself as “absolutely devastated”. She has still qualified for the World Indoors in the high jump and long jump, and could yet get a discretionary place in the pentathlon.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea