Rutherford stars in Birmingham

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Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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Greg Rutherford began his 2015 season with a bang by setting four new indoor personal bests as he won the long jump with a world leading 8.17 metres at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham.

The Olympic champion saved his best for his final jump to snatch victory from China’s Xinglong Gao with a leap which was just one centimetre off Chris Tomlinson’s British record.

The Milton Keynes athlete came into the year with an indoor PB of 8.00m, but proceeded to jump 8.03m, 8.08m, 8.10m and then 8.17m at the Barclaycard Arena.

Rutherford said ahead of the competition that the European Indoor Championships in Prague next month were not on his schedule, with his primary focus this year to win the world title for the first time.

And he revealed he was likely to stick to that plan, even if he was now not quite so certain.

“I don’t know now. It’s a possibility but it’s a slim one,” the 28-year-old said on whether he might go to Prague.

“I think probably not still. I never planned to do it and never set it as a target.

“We’ve done one jump session and one run-up session in the build-up to this and the rest has been weight sessions, so we’ll see. If it was any other year then I’d consider it, but I’m so determined to win the World Championships this year and I do believe I can do that.”

Elsewhere, world number one Jenny Meadows underlined her status as favourite for 800m gold at the European Indoors with another win, clocking two minutes 01.25 seconds.

Nigel Levine warmed up for Prague by winning the 400m in 46.43secs, with compatriot Jarryd Dunn finishing second in 46.67s to seal his place on the plane to Prague.

Guy Learmonth and James Bowness both guaranteed their spots on the British team in the 800m, running inside the qualifying time of 1:48.00 despite finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

Dina Asher-Smith, the world junior 100m champion and gold medal contender at the European Indoors, was forced to pull out of the 60m as a precaution, but her compatriot Rachel Johncock sealed her place in Prague with a PB of 7.24 in the heats.

Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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