Edwards did not doubt Rutherford

The Bolton News: Greg Rutherford jumped 8.51metres in San Diego last week Greg Rutherford jumped 8.51metres in San Diego last week

Jonathan Edwards has never doubted Greg Rutherford's talent and was glad to see the Olympic long jump champion set a British record last week.

Rutherford jumped 8.51metres in San Diego on Friday to set a new mark, with his form going alongside his earlier claims that he was eager to silence his critics.

A lack of success since taking gold at London 2012 prompted a number of high-profile former athletes to pass comment on Rutherford, with Edwards and Denise Lewis amongst them.

Edwards said he felt Rutherford was "fragile" and that his London win was a "shock". Rutherford's response was to say he would "shut everybody up by jumping far".

He did that in America and Edwards, still the triple jump world record-holder 11 years after retirement, was happy to see it.

"I thought he was a little bit over-sensitive (with his reaction) because I don't think anyone is questioning his talent," said Edwards.

"We have known he is a good athlete but you have to be honest as a commentator and a pundit and say 'he won the Olympics, with not the strongest of fields' and he took his opportunity, he was fit, which was great."

Edwards feels that Rutherford was wrong to go to the World Championships in Moscow where he failed to make the final, believing that a fit Chris Tomlinson would have been a better pick.

He does not see a reason why a fit Rutherford cannot enjoy more success, though.

Speaking at an event to promote the Etape Pennines - a 60-mile sportive he is riding in - Edwards added: "I don't think we were being critical of him, we were just passing comment on his performance and what followed on from that.

"He shouldn't have gone to Moscow, clearly that was a bad decision. He wasn't in shape to compete and denied Chris Tomlinson a position in the team. I don't think that was the smartest move. When you're the Olympic champion you don't want to go to a Worlds and be an also-ran. Criticism where it's due but no-one would doubt that he's a great athlete."

Edwards now expects that the Commonwealth Games will call for Rutherford, but he does not envisage Phillips Idowu joining the new British record-holder in the sand in his former event.

Idowu, now 35, missed the Worlds after a dismal London 2012 and said he would be taking a career break, but has recently returned in a number of small events in Australia.

"Phillips is done. He's never going to get back," Edwards said.

"Age isn't on his side, you can't take out a chunk of time like he has and then come back. Phillips is finished. As soon as he said he was taking a break he was done."

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