Greg Rutherford has set his sights on another gold medal ahead of today’s long jump final at the Commonwealth Games.
The London 2012 winner qualified with ease on day three of the athletics in Glasgow, topping the charts with an initial effort of 8.05metres. Having beaten the automatic qualifying mark of 7.90m, he was free to watch the rest of the event from the sidelines safe in the knowledge that his place in tonight’s event was secure.
His effort proved to be the top mark on the day, with South Africans Rushwahl Samaai (8.03m) and Zarck Wisser (7.99m) his nearest challengers. They are the two that are expected to push him close in the final at Hampden Park, scheduled for 6:45pm on Wednesday.
For now though, Rutherford is happy with his work and looking forward to the challenge that will lie ahead in-front of the Scottish crowd.
“That’s the aim of the qualification; you want to be out there and qualifying in the first round if you can. Nothing’s ever won in qualification, but you can lose a lot, so to go out there and get it done first round, I’m over the moon with that,” he told reporters afterwards.
“The response the crowd gave me was out of this world – it was so reminiscent of the Olympics and it almost brought a tear to my eye again. I had to collect myself a bit and get ready. It feels like a home crowd and it’s a great feeling; the crowd definitely helps.”
Fellow Englishman Chris Tomlinson and JJ Jegede will join Rutherford in the final after finishing in the top 12, with leaps of 7.89m and 7.66m respectively good enough to make the cut.
Tomlinson is appearing in his fourth Commonwealth Games, and despite struggling with a leg injury, is hoping to produce one moment of magic to secure a medal in the final.
“It was easy enough, but I’m carrying quite a bad leg injury so I couldn’t really jump as I wanted. I did what I had to do in terms of qualifying, so that was all right,” said the Middlesbrough jumper.
“I don’t know whether it’ll affect me or not – we’ll have to wait and see. I’ll have to try and nurse it through, and we’ll have to see it responds. It’s the quad again. It was 100% a week or so ago, but now it’s started to rear its ugly head again.
“It’s about managing it. I only took one jump in qualifying, and you only need one jump in a final to win. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s about time I got a bit of luck on my side. If I’m going to get a medal, I’ll have to jump further than I have. I’ve jumped 8.23m this year, but then I got hurt.
No other home nations were represented in the qualification event.