Greg Rutherford defends Katarina Johnson-Thompson following 'out of order' criticism of heptathlete's long jump collapse
- Katarina Johnson-Thompson recorded three fouls in the long jump
- The 22-year-old missed out on a heptathlon medal
- Greg Rutherford revealed Johnson-Thompson was devastated
Greg Rutherford demanded critics lay off Katarina Johnson-Thompson after her long jump collapse cost her a heptathlon medal at the World Championships in Beijing.
The 22-year-old produced three no-jumps on Sunday, the final one an ever-so-marginal foul, to see her hopes of challenging team-mate Jessica Ennis-Hill for the title - who went onto win gold - dashed in an instant.
Rutherford, who qualified for the final of his event with a leap of 8.25 metres on Monday morning, said the speed of the runway made controlling and adjusting timing difficult and backed the Liverpool athlete to come back firing for her individual long jump competition.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson gestures as she checks the marks on the board with officials
Johnson-Thompson missed out on a heptathlon medal at the World Championships in Beijing
Greg Rutherford has demanded critics lay off Katarina Johnson-Thompson after her long jump collapse
'I think what people don't understand is this is an incredibly fast runway,' said the Olympic champion, who described the criticism of Johnson-Thompson as 'out of order'.
'Fortunately I've had all these years of experience now to know what to do and make the small adjustments. Kat's incredibly young and I heard a few comments that were a little bit harsh on her yesterday, which I think is incredibly unfair.
'I reckon if you put a speed gun on people, which we do in training quite a lot, you would be 0.1 or 0.2 of a second quicker out here and that's a massive difference over a runway.
'Kat has the chance to come back out in a few days' time and, believe me, I'm one of her biggest fans and I'm hoping she comes away with a medal.'
Johnson-Thompson pictured in mid-flight during one of her attempts in the heptathlon long jump
Rutherford, whose leap was the second longest of the qualifying competition, behind American favourite Jeff Henderson's 8.36m, is bidding to emulate his fellow London 2012 'Super Saturday' gold medallists by winning in Beijing.
A victory would give him the full set of major titles. He won the European and Commonwealth crowns last year.
In spite of that success, Rutherford has had his fair share of critics in the past, with some branding his Olympic triumph a fluke.
And he said he would talk to Johnson-Thompson.
'I saw her briefly yesterday and the poor girl was absolutely devastated, I'll be honest,' he said.
The Liverpool heptathlete remonstrates with officials following a disputed foul in her final jump in Beijing
'But she's strong, she's very good, we all know how talented this girl is. I think when she comes out she'll know what to do, get a safe jump in, get to that final and do something special.
'She's come into this with people saying, "You're going to win a medal, you're probably going to win this championships". For a young girl that's a hell of a lot of stress.
'Even at my age in London I didn't 100 per cent deal with that pressure well, I managed to grind out a half decent result, but if I'd have been 21 in the same position I probably would have buckled.
'I think if people have got something to say and they genuinely want to help, wait until after the championships, because it's not right to do that.
'If she had gone out there and jumped six metres and hit the board perfectly every time because she was being too cautious and too scared, she would have got absolutely annihilated for that.
'She wanted to win a gold medal, we should never forget that. She didn't come out here to foul three times, she came out here to try and win a gold medal, it's not easy.'
The Brit launches into the air during the long jump event of the Heptathlon in the Bird's Nest Arena
Rutherford's team-mate Dan Bramble failed to make the final, recording a best jump of 7.83m.
Defending champion Christine Ohuruogu looked impressive in winning her 400m heat, crossing the line in 51.01 seconds with plenty in reserve. Team-mate Anyika Onuora also went through.
Holly Bradshaw, back after a potentially career-threatening back injury, qualified for the pole vault final with 4.55m.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-3208509/Greg-Rutherford-backs-Katarina-Johnson-Thompson-long-jump-collapse-dashed-hopes-medal-World-Championships.html#ixzz3jiyZJAwa
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