Greg Rutherford (coach: Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) completed the Grand Slam of major titles winning the long jump at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
The reigning Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion added the only major title missing from his collection and becomes only the fifth British athlete in history to hold all four titles at the same time. Rutherford took the lead in the early stages with a jump of 8.29m, before the competition lost USA’s Mike Hartfield and Jeff Henderson, the latter of which qualified for the final in first place.
Rutherford, saved his best attempt for the fourth round, with the second best jump of his career and a season’s best of 8.41m. The team’s third gold medal provided flashbacks to London 2012, where Rutherford, Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (Toni Minichiello) all won the Olympic title on ‘Super Saturday’.
The emotional, but elated Rutherford said: “I’m bit lost for words, what an incredible night. That was an accumulation of so many people’s work – Dan Pfaff, what an amazing lead coach and Jonas, who’s been helping him as well. Andy Burke the therapist who’s been here has helped me as well and more than anything my family and friends, who have been unreal. They’ve built me a long jump pit in the garden, and that’s pretty special.
“Dan basically told me after the third round, ‘what an earth are you playing at, why are you fouling? Just get one in and close the night.’ The next round I managed to catch one and I hope 8.41m is acceptable for people this time. I’m pretty sure that is a stadium record, so I’ll take that – maybe I’m not too bad of a long jumper.”
Christine Ohuruogu (Christine Bowmaker) underlined her status as a championship performer by producing a season’s best of 50.16 to qualify for the 400m final. All five of Ohuruogu’s sub-50 second performances have come at major championships and the 30 year old looks to be coming into form just at the right time. The current world champion will have a fight on her hands to retain her title with eight-time world gold medallist Allyson Felix producing an impressive 49.89 performance in the final heat.
Ohuruogu said: “I got the job done. The job was to win the semi that’s all I can ask for and that competition should bring me to what I need.”
In the same heat as the American, Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider) made it two personal bests in two rounds, this time clocking 50.87, but unfortunately a fifth place finish wasn’t enough to see her through to the final.
“I’m alright, I’ve got a PB, I’ve done what I set out to do from lane two – I just had fun out there that was all. And I’ve come away with a PB and that was all I wanted, I utilised the most of my opportunity and it was close but no cigar.”
Laura Muir (Andy Young) left no stone unturned as she finished a brilliant campaign with a fifth place finish in the 1500m final. The 22 year old gave her all as she picked off a few competitors in the final lap to cross the line in 4:11.48.
“I’m really pleased – that was such a tough field and I think in any other year I probably would have medalled. To come fifth against that other competition I am really, really happy,” said Muir.
“I left last year so frustrated as I knew I could run so much better, but it’s great to have come here and have done well in the final.”
In the first round of the men’s 200m, both Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills) and Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins) booked their places in the semi-finals. Hughes was convincing in heat five cruising to victory in heat five in 20.13, while Talbot was third in the following heat with 20.35.
British Athletics medals at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing, China
Mo Farah (10,000m)
Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon)
Greg Rutherford (Long jump)