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Injured Greg Rutherford to miss London world championships

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Britain’s Greg Rutherford poses with his Olympic long jump bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro on August 14, 2016 © AFP/File / Damien MEYER

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 25 – Britain’s Greg Rutherford has been ruled out of the world athletics championships in London after the defending long jump champion suffered an ankle injury.

Rutherford, who won Olympic gold at London 2012, was forced to withdraw from his title defence after failing to recover from the ligament damage he sustained competing in Italy last month.

The 30-year-old’s absence was announced by British Athletics on Tuesday.

“In the last few days I have had to accept an unfortunate reality. I did everything I could, but a string of injuries at the worst possible time means I will be unable to defend my world title in London,” Rutherford said in a statement.

“With an incredible start to the year in training, and very promising early season form, I have had a difficult series of setbacks as the season progressed.

“Most recently, a badly damaged ankle ligament and a sportsman’s hernia, really put paid to my plans. The injuries have taken longer to heal than we hoped, and I have been unable to even jump at all in training, let alone compete.

“I am truly gutted. That stadium is such a special place for me, I am so devastated that I won’t be competing in front of the best fans in the world, in the stadium that changed my life.

“But, I’ll definitely be there to support my British team mates and soak up what will be an amazing atmosphere, and an amazing championships.

“My focus will now turn to 2018 and becoming a three time European champion on the trot, something no long jumper has ever done before.”

As well as an Olympic title, Rutherford also claimed the Commonwealth Games crown and European gold medal in 2014.

Rutherford’s withdrawal is a big blow for British Athletics ahead of the World Championships, which starts next week.

Britain’s Performance director Neil Black said: “Greg is one of only a few British athletes to complete the ‘Grand Slam’ of medals, but that won’t make missing London any easier.

“He desperately wanted to defend his world title in front of the home crowd, but unfortunately his injury hasn’t cleared up in time and the hard but sensible decision had to be made to withdraw.”

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