Greg Rutherford in contention for tilt at World Indoors
Last Updated: 17/02/18 9:51pm
Former Olympic champion Greg Rutherford made a triumphant return from injury in the long jump at the SPAR British Indoor Championships.
Rutherford's first-round effort of 7.80 metres at Arena Birmingham was enough to get his comeback off to a successful start and keep him on track for the World Indoors at the same venue next month.
The 31-year-old does not have the qualifying standard of 8.19m but, as the host nation, Britain are permitted to enter one athlete in an event where there is not otherwise any representation.
Thanks to everyone for such lovely support today. I’m thrilled to win. 3 months ago I started walking post surgery. 1 month ago I jumped for the first time in training and today I become national indoor champion. As always defying the rules of recovery. I love this sport— Greg Rutherford (@GregJRutherford) February 17, 2018
Rutherford was competing for the first time since June, having undergone groin and ankle operations, and a third-round leap of 7.75m was his second-best effort.
He is now due to compete in next weekend's Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow and will then decide whether to contest the World Indoors - the only global title he has yet to win.
Rutherford said: "If they are still willing to put me in, I'll feel through Glasgow, and I'll push it on a bit within the next week.
"If all goes well, then why not?
"The long jump is always a very open event and I'll have a home crowd on a runway that I quite enjoy. It will be an incredible turnaround if I make it."
Rutherford competed just three times in 2017 and missed out on the chance to defend his World Championship title in London.
"I was terrified about this competition," he added.
"Last night I was laying in bed wondering if I could do it. It's been such a long time and so much has happened in the nine months since I jumped. So to do that, I'm genuinely thrilled.
"If I'd jumped six metres I'd have been crying and announcing my retirement, but it's near enough to eight metres to think I can still do it.
"When I had the ankle surgery, the doctor said there's absolutely no chance you'll be ready to jump by the indoors and I only started walking again in mid-November, yet here I am."