Greg Rutherford withdraws from British Championships in Birmingham

Greg Rutherford
Rutherford is the reigning Olympic, world and European champion
British Championships
Date: 25-26 June Venue: Alexander Stadium, Birmingham
Coverage: Watch on BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website on Saturday (14:00-16:00 BST), and on BBC Two and BBC Sport website on Sunday (13:00-17:00 BST)

Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford has pulled out of this weekend's British Championships in Birmingham because of fitness concerns.

The 29-year-old made the precautionary move after suffering whiplash at the Birmingham Diamond League on 5 June.

He has said his hopes of defending his Olympic title in August and European crown in July are not in danger.

"I'm disappointed not to be competing, but defending the Olympic title is my main focus for 2016," said Rutherford.

The Englishman, who is training in America, added: "In consultation with British Athletics, we have decided not to take any risks, finish my training camp here in Arizona and focus on making sure I am in the best position possible to compete at the European Championships and win gold in Rio."

The British Championships double up as trials for Rio. Athletes who have achieved Olympic qualifying marks need to finish in the top two at Alexander Stadium to make certain of their spots, but Rutherford is certain to claim a discretionary spot on the team, fitness permitting.

British Athletics performance director Neil Black said: "We have seen time and time again that he knows what to do to allow him to go into a championships in the best shape possible, so we are fully supportive of this decision aimed towards retaining gold in Rio."

Jessica Ennis-Hill
Ennis-Hill is aiming to become the first British female to retain an Olympic title

Britain reliant on experienced stars - Campbell

Former Olympic relay champion Darren Campbell has said British athletics relies too heavily on a handful of stars and that the team will struggle to match their London 2012 medal tally in Rio.

Britain will again hope reigning Olympic champions Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Rutherford can successfully defend their titles.

Campbell, 4x100m gold medallist in Athens in 2004, said: "I think it's very easy to put all your eggs in one basket and things go wrong. I think there's a lot of pressure on a few athletes, rather than there being a lot of pressure on all the athletes.

"We've got a lot of talented young athletes, and then we've got a couple of athletes who are experienced, have been around a long time and know what it takes to win medals.

"Where's that middle area, those people that should make finals and maybe can pick up a medal that you just don't expect?"

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