Olympic champ safely through to World Championships long jump final where he will face an in-form Jeff Henderson, while Christine Ohuruogu and Holly Bradshaw also progress in Beijing
Greg Rutherford’s hope of becoming the fifth Briton in history to hold all four major titles at the same time remains alive after he progressed through to the World Championships long jump final in Beijing on Monday.
The Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion fouled his first attempt but his second jump of 8.25m bettered the 8.15m qualifying mark. The only other athlete to achieve that distance in qualifying was USA’s in-form Jeff Henderson, who jumped 8.36m on his first attempt.
World No.1 with 8.52m this year, Henderson looks to be Rutherford’s biggest threat as another of the favourites, world No.3 Marquis Dendy, failed to qualify after recording a single mark of 7.78m. South Africa’s world No.2 Zarck Visser and Rutherford’s team-mate Dan Bramble were also among the first round casualties.
Russia’s defending champion Aleksandr Menkov (8.08m), USA’s Mike Hartfield (8.13m) and all three of China’s athletes – Wang Jianan (8.12m), Gao Xinglong (8.11m) and Li Jinzhe (8.10m) – will also be in the final, with just 2cm separating the Chinese trio in the first round and 15cm covering the 12 non-automatic qualifiers.
“I’m in a good place,” said Rutherford. “I thought I upset a few people fouling in the first round to follow suit with what I did in London a few weeks back just to get people talking. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.
“Forget Dendy (who failed to qualify) at the moment, Jeff Henderson opened with a fantastic first round so it’s going to be a very exciting final.”
Also beginning their world campaigns in Beijing were Rutherford’s fellow Britons Christine Ohuruogu and Anyika Onuora in the 400m and Holly Bradshaw in the pole vault.
Ohuruogu looked strong in the first round of the 400m as she got the defence of her title under way. She won her heat in 51.01, easing down as she approached the line, while Onuora also ran well to clock 51.14, which betters her 51.26 PB from Lausanne, to progress to the semi-finals as the fastest loser.
Stephenie Ann McPherson went quickest with 50.34, while Allyson Felix won her heat in 50.60.
Bradshaw cleared 4.30m, 4.45m and 4.55m on the first time of asking to secure her spot in the pole vault final as joint first in qualifying. There she will be joined by athletes including Yarisley Silva, Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou, Fabiana Murer and Jenn Suhr.
Sandra Perkovic, Nadine Muller, Denia Caballero and Julia Fischer were the four throwers to achieve the qualification mark of 63.00m in the discus to be among those to go through to final.
Hiwot Ayalew (9:25.55), Habiba Ghribi (9:24.38) and Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi (9:26.19) were the winners of the 3000m steeplechase heats. Emma Coburn and Virginia Nyambura Nganga were also among those to qualify for the final. After running a 9:27.86 national record in her heat, Lalita Shivaji Babar becomes the first Indian female World Championships track finalist.
» See the August 28 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine for full coverage of the first four days of World Championships action