Idowu leaps ahead as Rutherford medal quest fails

Phillips Idowu's prospects of winning the Olympic triple jump title came on in leaps and bounds here yesterday as he reached Thursday's final with his first qualifying effort of 17.44 metres, a full 34cm further than the mark required.

But the 29-year-old from Hackney in London will want to avoid emulating the experience of fellow Briton Greg Rutherford, who could only finish 10th in last night's long jump final despite having reached it with a similar flourish to Idowu.

Rutherford, who had to take a year out with an ankle injury following his European silver medal win in 2006, was close to tears after failing to do better than 7.84m – 36cm less than he jumped to win the British trials – in a competition where gold went to Panama's world No 1 Irving Saladino in a relatively conservative 8.34m. Had the 21-year-old from Milton Keynes been able to jump in Beijing as he had in Birmingham, he would have had a bronze.

"I had massive high hopes and I know what I can jump," Rutherford said. "I was expecting a medal and I've probably just lost my best-ever chance of getting an Olympic medal. I could feel the pressure a lot and I thought I could deal with it. It's a wasted opportunity.

"It is a massive disappointment. If someone had pulled out a massive jump, then at least I could say 'he jumped far'. But people weren't exactly jumping well out there. I don't know why.

"Qualification went well. It felt easy and I thought, 'I am going to go out here and get myself a medal'. All day I was thinking about was the possibility of being the first British athletics medal at this Olympics and I knew I was capable of doing it. I will be angry more than anything when I look back."

While Rutherford's big chance may lie four years down the line at the London Games, Idowu's is now. Four years ago he qualified without undue fuss in Athens, but then failed to register a mark in the final. This looks likely to be a far happier experience.

Christian Malcolm reached today's 200m semi-finals in 20.30sec, the sixth fastest qualifying time, and was joined by team-mate Marlon Devonish, who was a fastest loser after facing the testing challenge of running in the next lane to the stellar Jamaican Usain Bolt in his second round heat. Bolt ambled through in 20.29sec.

While Rutherford despaired, Sarah Claxton and Tasha Danvers rejoiced after reaching the finals of the 100m and 400m hurdles respectively.

Meanwhile, Martyn Rooney, who has said he will have had a "bad championships" if he does not make the Olympic final, has taken a firm stride towards it by winning his opening 400m heat in 45sec. His team-mate Andrew Steele went even faster, achieving a personal best of 44.94sec.

It will be the women's 400m which earns the bulk of attention here today, however, as Britain's world champion Christine Ohuruogu faces Sanya Richards of the United States.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor