Defending world champion Greg Rutherford has been forced to withdraw from long jump event at the World Athletics Championships, which is being held in his home country in London.
Rutherford, who took the title in Beijing two years ago with a leap of 8.41 meters, has been struggling with the injury despite a promising start to the season and today announced that he would miss the Championships, which is being held in the same stadium where he won his first global title at the Olympic Games five years ago.
The Brit’s withdrawal arguably means Luvo Manyonga, whose jump of 8.65 meters is the world lead this year, is a heavy favorite for the title, especially considering that Jeff Henderson, last year’s Olympic champion, is out of form and barely scraped into the USA Team for the Championships.
Rutherford unable to return to stadium of former success
Rutherford would have undoubtedly been looking forward to returning the Olympic stadium, where a leap of 8.31 meters saw him surprisingly take the title in front of his home crowd, saying in a statement that he was “truly gutted” to have to pull out.
The 30-year-old, who has won the European and Commonwealth titles as well as the World Championships since his Olympic triumph, finished third behind Henderson and Manyonga in Rio last summer and would likely have been in medal contention in front of his home crowd, though what he described as a “badly damaged ankle ligament” has ended any hopes of that.
With the defending champion out, Manyonga is arguably the heavy favorite for the title, recording five of the longest six jumps this year, with his fellow South African Ruswahl Samaai the number two jumper this year. America’s best medal hope will arguably be Jarrion Lawson, who is the fourth longest jumper this season.