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Rutherford ready to leap back to form after sorry 2013

Nothing, Greg Rutherford concedes, will ever match the euphoria of Super Saturday in Stratford:

Rutherford knows he may never top Super Saturday. Picture: Getty Images
Rutherford knows he may never top Super Saturday. Picture: Getty Images

securing his Olympic long jump title on a glorious golden night that will forever live on. That's the trouble with exceeding one's wildest dreams. Regression inevitably follows. However, following a 2013 season which hurled the Briton back to earth, there are new heights to target and fresh ascents to climb.

January, he says, will bring a fresh start of sorts. His first proper competition will come at Glasgow's Emirates Arena in the annual Indoor International Match, his first outing since a dismal world championships when he failed to progress beyond the qualifying round.

A hamstring injury held him firmly in check. A scan on Monday suggested all is well once more. Hence it will be full steam ahead with his new training group, which principally comprises sprinters under the care of young coach Jonas Dodoo. It hints at a new direction, one which will see him dabble over 60 metres in the winter campaign. Extra speed should translate into elongated leaps. "I want to put myself in a position to have fast people to run against," he says.

He will remain a jumper first and foremost and the Commonwealth Games will be his primary target for 2014. It is an opportunity for redemption of sorts, a chance to prove his Olympic title was no mere fluke and a springboard for a possible duel for supremacy with Russia's imperious Aleksandr Menkov at the subsequent European Championships.

"After a bad season where I was stricken with injury, you want to come back and prove you can do it again," said the 27-year-old. "So there's a bit more [pressure] on me than there was this year. Going into next year, there is a call for me to back up that title. And then I can call myself a Commonwealth and Olympic champion."

Hampden, he believes, can replicate some of the magic of East London. The extra adrenaline from a supportive crowd could again be worth priceless milliseconds and centimetres to the chosen recipients. It could bring a first, he laughs, an Englishman being cheered onward to victory within its confines. "I've never of anyone being booed in a track and field scenario," he says.

"I'm really hoping the crowd will be similar to 2012 and bring out incredible performances from everybody in the home nations."

A British record would be an added bonus. He jointly holds the mark of 8.35 metres with great rival Chris Tomlinson. A fit and healthy Rutherford believes it can become his sole possession. "I'd like to jump far enough one day to retire, going: 'you know what? I've put the British record out so far that there's nobody currently who can touch it.' That comes with me being consistent, aiming to jump further and training a bit smarter. Hopefully going into next year, that's where I'll be."

Tickets are on sale for Glasgow British Athletics International Match, Saturday, January 25, 2014 at britishathletics.org.uk

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