Olympic champ to host back garden event

Media captionRutherford tests his Woburn Sands long jump before it was fully completed

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford is planning to host a long jump competition for some of the world’s top athletes – in his back garden.

Rutherford has an officially-certified long jump runway and pit at his home in Woburn Sands near Milton Keynes.

“I think I will actually have an exceptionally good field of jumpers, better than a Diamond League meeting to be honest,” he said.

He said Australian long jumper Mitchell Watt among the interested parties.

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Greg Rutherford said Fabrice Lapierre, pictured at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, was also considering a visit to his back garden

Rutherford, who won gold to Watt’s silver at London 2012, built the runway and pit with help from his father.

‘Party in the garden’

The plan is to host the event in September, after the Rio Olympics.

“We are going to get a grandstand for maybe 50 or 100 people, put it right next to the runway pit and after have a party in the garden,” said Rutherford.

“I want to get funding behind it so the athletes can be paid – I can create something that I feel the rest of the sport isn’t doing.”

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Mitchell Watt (left) and Greg Rutherford enjoying their friendly rivalry in Perth, Australia in 2013

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The USA’s Christian Taylor came fourth in the World Championships triple jump in Moscow in 2013 (pictured), but took gold at Beijing in 2015

Rutherford said Olympic and World Championships triple jump gold medallist Christian Taylor (USA) and World Championships long jump silver medallist Christian Lapierre had also expressed an interest in competing.

Speaking ahead of Friday evening’s street athletics event in Manchester, Rutherford joked that Carl Lewis, the 1984 and 1988 Olympic gold medallist, would probably not be invited.

“I don’t think I’d want Carl anywhere near my house to be honest,” he said.

Lewis, along with world record holder Mike Powell, has been critical of the current state of long jumping.

“If him and Carl want to come back, I’ll welcome them all back. I’ll happily scalp them,” said Rutherford.

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