Former Olympic long jump champion is focused on regaining full fitness for the summer season

Greg Rutherford has withdrawn from the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

The Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth long jump gold medallist was given a host nation place for the event following his victory at the SPAR British Indoor Championships, where he leapt 7.80m. He improved to 7.89m at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow last weekend but was disappointed not to have jumped further.

As he continues his comeback after ankle and groin surgery, Rutherford has decided to miss the global event taking place from March 1-4 in order to regain full fitness in time for the outdoor season.

“My performance from the British Championships to the Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow at the weekend showed improvement but it was still not at the level I demand of myself,” he said. “It has not been an easy decision but I have therefore chosen to withdraw from the World Indoor Championships.

“I am now going to take a few days to recover from Glasgow before resuming training as I prepare for a successful summer.

“I am committed to becoming the first long jumper to win three European titles in a row and will be training hard over the coming months to return to the track as fit as ever.”

Speaking with AW at the Indoor Grand Prix, Rutherford had explained: “I’m a good couple of months behind where I need to be.

“The two surgeries I had were quite big so I’m glad that within a week I’ve had about 11 jumps which is a lot for me. It’s good for training but, equally if I go to a major championship, I go to win or at least win a medal and I’m not sure if that’s a possibility.”

Neil Black, performance director at British Athletics, said: “It has been fantastic to see Greg return to competition this indoor season and we have been impressed by the progress he has made.

“Unfortunately, that progress is not quite enough for him to be able to compete at the high standards he demands in Birmingham.

“Greg is a great role model and ambassador for the sport as demonstrated at the British Indoor Championships and Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow and we look forward to seeing him back fully fit in the summer.”

An updated GB team list can be found here.