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
Sunday 16 February 2014
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.
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Chelsea transfer news: 'Eden Hazard will cost Real Madrid £100m - and a Galactico,' says Jose Mourinho
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...