London: London Olympics long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford has come up with a new game-plan to try to rediscover his world-beating jumping form of 2012 — turning himself into a top-class sprinter.
After a disappointing 2013 season that began with his split from American coach Dan Pfaff and ended with a ruptured hamstring, Rutherford has joined up with specialist sprint coach Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo at London’s Lee Valley to work alongside some of Britain brightest young 100 and 200 metres prospects.
His new training partners include European under-23 100m silver medallist Deji Tobias, European junior 100m champion Chijindu Ujah and 200m specialist David Bolarinwa, who made his Diamond League debut in Oslo in June.
Rutherford’s decision follows a heart-to-heart with retired American long jumper Dwight Phillips, the former Olympic and four-time world champion, who advised him that training and competing as a sprinter could pay dividends on the long-jump runway.
Rutherford, 27, who will look after the long jump side of his training himself with the help of UK Athletics biomechanist Paul Bryce, plans to put his new set-up to the test by competing in his first indoor season in four years, beginning with the Glasgow British Athletics International Match on January 25.
The World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, in March, are also a possibility, though not a priority. He says his main goal is going one better than his silver in Delhi in 2010 and winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
But, heeding Phillips’ advice, Rutherford is also planning to compete as a sprinter in several meetings next year and hopes to improve on his 100m personal best of 10.26sec, which he set at the Great North City Games in Gateshead in 2010.