Britain’s golden athletics hero Greg Rutherford (coach: Dan Pfaff) has confirmed that he will face the best long jumpers in the world at the Birmingham Diamond League on Sunday 5 June.
The current Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion will face 2016 world leader Marquise Goodwin, world indoor champion Marquis Dendy and world and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor in the best line up anywhere in the world this year.
Rutherford, who is one of Great Britain’s most successful ever athletes and is unbeaten in nine competitions since the 2015 London Anniversary Games, will face Goodwin for the first time since he won Olympic gold at London 2012 and is hoping to continue his excellent form at the Alexander Stadium.
He said: “This is the best field of long-jumpers in the world at the Birmingham Diamond League and will be the real start of my road to the Rio Olympics. I’m really happy with the start I’ve made to my season and I’m hoping to keep it going at the Birmingham Diamond League on Sunday 5 June, I’m hoping to jump even further than last year.
“I’ll be up against all of the best long jumpers in the world so it will be a very good test for me. If I can perform well in Birmingham, there’s no reason I can’t do the same at the Olympics. There’s nothing better than competing on home soil in front of British fans, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a major test for me but I’m ready.”
American Goodwin is a current NFL player for the Buffalo Bills but is taking the summer out from his main sport to focus on athletics and the Rio Olympic Games. After jumping a world leading 8.45m earlier this month, the 25 year old is in confident mood and looking forward to the competition in Birmingham.
He said: “Next to my NFL career I love track and field and competing in the long jump this summer. It was amazing to jump 8.45m and I’m hoping to build on it with another big jump in Birmingham, I think the long jump could be one of the most exciting events of the meet.”
Rutherford will also face a stern test from Marquis Dendy, who won gold at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland in March. The American is now hoping to use his trip to the West Midlands as the launchpad to success at the Olympic Games.
Dendy said: “Winning the world indoor title was a great breakthrough for me and I’m confident of taking my form into the outdoor season. Competing at the Birmingham Diamond League against some great competitors will be an important test for me as I build towards the Olympic Games which is the main target for me this summer.”
Current world and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor will test himself in the long jump in Birmingham, as he did in 2014 when winning the event ahead of the likes of Rutherford.
Completing the world class long jump field are Jeff Henderson, who has the best personal best in the field with 8.54m, world silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre of Australia, who leaped to his best distance for six years last weekend, American Mike Hartfield and Great Britain’s Dan Bramble, who will be looking to extend his personal best of 8.21m set last year and secure the Olympic qualifying mark of 8.15m.
For tickets to the Birmingham Diamond League please visit britishathletics.org.uk