Greg Rutherford had long made it clear he had no ambitions to compete in next week’s European Indoor Championships. Even after a jump of 8.17 metres in Birmingham at the weekend – the second longest in the world this year – he was still adamant that Prague was not in his plans.
So it came as some surprise to see the name of the Olympic, European and Commonwealth long jump champion among the 39-strong team announced today for the event a week on Friday.
Rutherford has habitually done one indoor performance per season before shifting his focus outdoors but British Athletics performance director Neil Black said the prospect of yet another title had persuaded the 28-year-old to make his late U-turn.
“Greg is a winner,” said Black. “This is one of the titles he hasn’t won. At the weekend we had a short conversation about it and it was obvious that he should compete in Prague. It [his decision] was an amazing surprise [but] we couldn’t be happier about it.”
Another strong gold-medal contender in the squad is Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who set a national long-jump record of 6.93m in Birmingham, but in Prague will have her sights set on Jessica Ennis’s national pentathlon mark of 4,965 points.
Also in the squad are Jenny Meadows and Seren Bundy-Davies, who top the European standings in the 800m and 400m respectively.Reuse content