• Athletics

Rutherford's jump was illegal, says rival Tomlinson

ESPN staff
April 30, 2014
Chris Tomlinson has been scathing in his assessment of Greg Rutherford's record jump © Getty Images

Long jumper Chris Tomlinson has claimed Greg Rutherford's newly-set British record was "clearly a foul" and has called on UK Athletics to erase it from the history books.

Tomlinson, who held the record until last week, believes Olympic champion Rutherford's foot was "significantly over" the line during his jump of 8.51 metres.

He said no Plasticine had been used at the small meet in San Diego, a contravention of IAAF Rule 184, which states that "immediately beyond the take-off line there shall be placed a Plasticine indicator board for the assistance of the judges".

"When you look at the video, it's clearly a foul," Tomlinson said. "Greg's foot is not marginally over but significantly over, probably four or five centimetres or so.

"It's left me in a slightly awkward situation because it's a jump that's clearly a large foul in a competition that isn't a World Championships, isn't an Olympics or a grand prix. It's a very small competition. Where do we draw the line in the sand?"

Tomlinson then posted this tweet, including a still from a video of the jump:

Tomlinson claims he has had plenty of support from his fellow athletes. "The long jump world are up in arms about this, texting and tweeting me and saying: 'How is this allowed? This is wrong.' Down at the local track the officials would be far more suited to a professional environment than what that particular competition was."

The USA Track & Field association have reacted by insisting the meeting, at San Diego's Olympic training centre, complied with its standards and that Rutherford's leap was legal. A spokeswoman told The Guardian: "The meet was USATF sanctioned, through our USATF Southern California Association, and used USATF officials. Thus all marks are verified and legal."

But Tomlinson remains adamant. Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, he added: "I don't want to sit and make it look like it's an attack on Greg, but let's look at the evidence.

"There's video evidence that clearly states it's not a marginal foul, it's a large foul jump. I feel it isn't a legitimate jump. We are British athletics and we almost have to set an example. We've got to be above all this. This isn't necessarily about making money or breaking records, it should be about what's right and what's wrong.

"People might say I am bitter or it's just sour grapes but what else am I meant to do? Am I just meant to sit back and say 'amazing jump' when it's clearly illegitimate?"

Rutherford has insisted he only competed in San Diego because it was a licensed event. "I wouldn't do it if it was not an official competition because the risk of jumping well and it not being official would absolutely gut me."

It is not the first time Tomlinson has hit out at Rutherford. Last year, Tomlinson missed out on a place in the Great Britain team for the World Championships in Moscow and claimed a clearly unfit Rutherford had been chosen ahead of him based on "media profile".

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