Greg Rutherford completed the full set of major titles by landing long jump gold at the World Championships.
The 28-year-old produced his furthest jump of the year when he needed it most, soaring out to 8.41 metres to add the world crown to his Olympic, European and Commonwealth successes.
It’s the culmination of so many different people’s workGreg Rutherford
The success took Great Britain’s medal tally in Beijing to three – all gold. The team rebel, who has caused controversy with his criticism of UK Athletics, followed in the footsteps of his fellow ‘Super Saturday’ gold medallists from London 2012, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Rutherford received no real challenge in a competition littered with fouls, taking the lead from round two and responding to his winning fourth-round attempt by punching the air and roaring with delight. He knew he had done enough.
Silver went to Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre with 8.24m and bronze to China’s Jianan Wang with 8.18m.
Victory for the Briton at the Bird’s Nest stadium was the perfect response to the critics who branded his Olympic win a fluke. Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth gold, and a British record, all in the space of three years is an achievement hard to put down.
And on top of that he is also in the running for the Diamond League crown.
Rutherford has attracted most headlines for his scathing attack on UKA, saying athletes were scared to speak out against the governing body and that he was prepared to become an “outcast” to highlight their problems and concerns.
Rutherford’s comments have prompted a backlash, with track legend Michael Johnson telling the BBC he “makes a lot of inflammatory comments but there isn’t a lot of explanation”.
Johnson told Rutherford to “do more jumping – less talking”.
The Milton Keynes athlete certainly seemed focused on the task at hand yesterday.
Rutherford produced a huge foul on his first attempt but readjusted his run-up and got it right in round two, flying out to 8.29m and into the lead.
American Jeff Henderson, his big rival for gold, produced two fouls in his first three jumps, with a best of just 7.95m, and crashed out of the competition after only three jumps.
The gold was Rutherford’s for the taking, and when he leapt out to 8.41m he knew he had one hand on the title. And so it proved.
The outspoken athlete has also criticised the absence of the Union Jack on the British vest for the championships and he made a show of pointing to it when he was handed the flag for his lap of honour.
Rutherford becomes only the fifth British athlete to hold all four major titles at the same time, following Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards. “I am a bit lost for words to be totally honest,” he told the BBC. “What an incredible night.
“This is the culmination of so many different people’s work while we have been here. Dan Pfaff, the most amazing elite coach I have got, Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo, who is helping him as well and helped me all last year. Andy, the physiotherapist, who has been here, helping me as well. More than anything else, all my family and friends, who have been unreal. They built me a long jump pit in the garden this year which is pretty special. It’s unbelievable. I am lost for words.”
A clearly emotional Rutherford called his display in Beijing the best of his career. “Absolutely (it is),” he said. “There have been stresses this year which I cannot explain to you. It has been really, really tough at points. To come out here and do that – I’m over the moon.”
l David Rudisha is on top of the world once again after the London 2012 star stormed to 800 metres glory in Beijing.
It has been a topsy-turvy three years since the Kenyan lit up the Olympic Stadium with his remarkable, world-record performance.
Beijing was the 26-year-old’s first major global championship since then, having missed the 2013 edition in Moscow through a knee injury – an issue followed by a calf complaint..
However, with rival Nijel Amos of Botswana surprisingly missing the final, Rudisha highlighted his undoubted quality at the Bird’s Nest stadium. Running from the front, the reigning Olympic and 2011 world champion controlled the pace and kicked on around the final bend, crossing the line in one minute 45.84 seconds.
“I am delighted about this gold medal,” Rudisha said, having beaten Poland’s Adam Kszczot by 0.24 secs. “It means a lot to me, especially after all these disappointments I had this year.”
l Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin resumed battle as the 200 metres got under way, with both easing into the semi-finals. Two days on from winning 100m gold ahead of two-time drug cheat Gatlin, Bolt flew out of the blocks and won his heat despite easing up all the way down the straight. Gatlin also cruised to victory in his heat. Britons Danny Talbot and Zharnel Hughes also secured safe progress.
l Defending champion Christine Ohuruogu demolished her season’s best to march into the final of the 400 metres.
The 31-year-old cruised to a semi-final victory in 50.16 seconds, taking 0.66secs off her previous best time of the year.