Greg Rutherford: New world long jump champion hits back at critics

Greg Rutherford (left) and Mike Powell
Greg Rutherford (left) bumped into world record holder and ex-world champion Mike Powell in Beijing
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Briton Greg Rutherford says he answered the critics who believed his Olympic success was a fluke by convincingly winning the world long jump title.

The 28-year-old won gold at London 2012 with the shortest winning distance in 40 years, but has since added the Commonwealth and European titles and leapt to 8.41 to take the world title.

He beat his nearest rival by 17cm.

"I hope it's enough for people to accept I'm a half-decent GB athlete," he said. "I hope 8.41m is acceptable."

Silver went to Australia's Fabrice Lapierre with 8.24m and bronze to China's Jianan Wang with 8.18m.

United States jumper Jeff Henderson, his big rival and favourite for gold, went out of the competition after only three jumps.

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Rutherford secures golden grand slam

Several rivals fouled having failed to master the run-up, but Rutherford, after an opening-round foul, leapt to 8.29m then produced 8.41m with his fourth attempt.

"That is a stadium record - it wasn't as long as it was at the last World Championships, which a few people will probably let me know about, but I couldn't care less," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I think I could've jumped further. If there was more pressure on me I could have responded.

"I've finally done it when it matters - fourth time. If anyone has anything to say I might have a couple of fingers for them."

BBC's Michael Johnson on Rutherford
"He might not come in as the best or favourite, but he comes in with a great gameplan. That's the approach every athlete should take. Greg does that every time. The medals will sort themselves out."

The Milton Keynes athlete 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.

Rutherford recently criticised UK Athletics on subjects such as the removal of the union jack from the kit Great Britain and funding issues.

The BBC's athletics analyst and former 200m and 400m world champion Michael Johnson said the Briton "makes a lot of inflammatory comments but there isn't a lot of explanation" and added that he should "do more jumping - less talking".

"Well Michael, how do you like me now?" responded Rutherford.

Rutherford's winning jumps
8.31m - 2012 Olympic Games8.29m - 2014 European Championships
8.20m - 2014 Commonwealth Games8.41m - 2015 World Championships
Greg Rutherford
Rutherford expressed his joy on Twitter afterwards

Britain's 1964 Olympic long jump champion Lynn Davies says he hopes Rutherford gets the "recognition he deserves".

"If you go back to London 2012, for some reason the best jumpers in the world were way down on the best distances and he won with 8.31m, which wasn't huge," said the 73-year-old Welshman.

"In Beijing it was the same thing again. Greg capitalised with 8.29m and held the lead and reinforced that with 8.41m.

"To be sitting here and watch Greg Rutherford become one of the all-time greats of British athletics... I really hope he gets the recognition that this deserves."

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