Question mark remains over Rutherford as Rudisha and Blake pull out of World Athletics Championships
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
July 16 - A question mark remains over the head of British Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford as Kenyan 800-metre Olympic gold medallist David Rudisha and Jamaica's world 100m champion Yohan Blake pull out of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships with injuries.
In what has already been a bad week for athletics, tarnished by revelations of doping among some of the world's fastest men including Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, a British Athletics official confirmed to insidethegames that London 2012 star Rutherford is still suffering after pulling his right hamstring during a Diamond League meeting in Paris earlier this month, as well as being troubled by a knee problem.
As a result, British Athletics performance director Neil Black decided to use his "discretion" and postpone the naming of the men's long jumper – which has to be one of either Rutherford or fellow London 2012 athlete Chris Tomlinson – who will compete in Moscow next month until July 30.
Meanwhile, Rudisha's coach, Colm O'Connell confirmed that the world record holder, who is receiving treatment in Germany for a knee injury, would not be ready to defend his world title in Russia.
"Finally we have made the decision," O'Connell said.
"We held back for long hoping for improvement, and he has improved quite a lot.
"But we didn't want to do a crash course between now and the World Championships, which may aggravate the injury since he has been out of training.
"Doctors [in Germany] said it may take three weeks for him to recover and we thought he would have seven weeks of training.
"But it has been longer.
"That's why we have decided to make the announcement."
Triple Olympic medallist Blake will also not defend the title he won in Daegu in 2011, following the disqualification of compatriot Usain Bolt for a false start, due to a hamstring injury sustained at the Utech Classic in Kingston in April.
The world's second fastest man, after Bolt, missed last month's Jamaican trials but automatically qualified for the 2013 championships as a defending champion.
Looking at the positives, Britain has named a 60-strong squad, including the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Christine Ohuruogu for the World Championships, which take place on August 10-19.
Double Olympic champion Farah will compete in the 10,000 metres but above all will be hoping to defend his 5,000 metres title – should he do so he will become the first Briton to retain a world title.
Olympic silver medallist and British 400m champion Ohuruogu will be going to Russia looking to regain the title she won in 2007.
Sibling Victoria will join her there as they become the first sisters to feature together in World Championship team – they are both a part of the 4x400m relay squad.
London 2012 heptathlon gold medallist Ennis will also be looking to reclaim a title – the gold she won at the Berlin 2009 event.
Olympic men's high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz and defending world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene were also automatically selected under the IAAF rules.
Sprinters Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and James Dasaolu join men's British 100m champion Dwain Chambers on the flight to Moscow, while Adam Gemili lines up alongside James Ellington over 200m.
"The team selected for GB and NI are a mix of defending champions, potential medallists, finalists and some really exciting young talents that we seen as future medallists," Black said.
"Last weekend's Sainsbury's British Championships was a brilliant stage for the world trials, and we saw some world class performances.
"It gave the selectors a real opportunity to see the athletes in championship mode and we were not disappointed.
"A year on from the Games and it is great to look forward to Moscow with the selected team, as we take our first steps in the build up towards Rio 2016 and London 2017."
July 2013: Dasaolu clocks 9.91sec to become second-fastest Briton in history
July 2013: Bolt answers Gay with season's best 19.73sec at Paris Diamond League meeting
July 2013: Idowu takes break from athletics and will miss Moscow World Championships
May 2013: Rudisha one of 11 world-leading athletes as 2013 IAAF Diamond League gets flying start in Doha
April 2013: Ennis and Farah confirmed for London Anniversary Games