sport

Rutherford takes golden leap

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford followed up his London gold with the Commonwealth long jump title in Glasgow on Wednesday night.

The 27-year-old Englishman launched himself out to 8.20 metres to take victory and put the memories of his injury-ruined 2013 season firmly behind him.

The Milton Keynes athlete came into the event ranked number one in the world following his British record jump in April and lived up to expectations, coming out on top in his battle with South Africa's Zarck Visser by eight centimetres.

Rutherford, whose great grandfather Jock played football for England against Scotland at Hampden back in 1908, started impressively with a first leap of 8.12m, but was knocked down to second on countback when Visser went out to the same distance with his second jump.

The Englishman hit right back, though, going out to 8.20m with his very next jump to the roars of the packed Hampden Park crowd.

His next effort was even bigger, but a marginal foul earned him a red flag.

It was a flag bearing the Cross of St George which Rutherford draped round his shoulders shortly after, though, as, beaming the broadest smile inside the packed stadium, he embarked on his lap of honour.

Rutherford, who famously won gold along with Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah on Super Saturday at London 2012, hit the comeback trail this year after a nightmare 2013 campaign in which he split with his coach Dan Pfaff, lost his sponsorship deal with Nike and suffered a hamstring tear so serious it left him questioning his future in the sport.

He failed to make the final at the World Championships in Moscow last August and the critics, including former athletes, were quick to start sniping.

Having linked up with young coach Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo last autumn, though, he has returned to form, jumping out to 8.51m in April, although the leap sparked sparked controversy as his team-mate Chris Tomlinson claimed it was a "large foul" and should be scrapped from record books.

Rutherford told the BBC: "It's never an easy road and, after what happened last year with injury, I wasn't sure if I could carry on jumping. Now I've won another title.

"I think a few people had written me off, thinking I was a one-hit wonder. But I'm here again and will be here again many more times. I'm super happy. I want to keep going out there jumping far and winning medals."

Tomlinson congratulated his rival, saying on Twitter: "The best man won."

There was more medal success for England as Jessica Taylor took heptathlon bronze, but disappointment for Martyn Rooney, who had to settle for fourth place as the imperious Kirani James, the 21-year-old Olympic champion from Grenada, took 400m gold in a Games record 44.24 seconds.

In the absence of new mum Jessica Ennis-Hill and her heir apparent Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the 26-year-old Taylor produced her best on the big stage, finishing with 5826 points to hold on to a podium place.

Home favourite Eilish McColgan, whose mother and coach Liz won Commonwealth gold over 10,000m in Edinburgh in 1986, came home sixth in the 3,000m steeplechase as Purity Cherotich Kirui led home a Kenyan one-two-three.

McColgan, who had a torrid time with illness in the build-up to the Games, came home in a season's best 9:44.65.

England's Chris Baker had to settle for fourth in the high jump, missing out on bronze on countback after clearing 2.25m .