<
>

Greg Rutherford calls for coaching improvements after World Champs

Greg Rutherford won gold for Great Britain during the 2015 World Championships. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Greg Rutherford has backed the next generation of British athletes to deliver but echoed calls to improve the standard of coaching.

The 2012 Olympic long jump champion is optimistic after the World Championships in London ended on Sunday.

Only Sir Mo Farah won individual medals, gold in the 10,000 metres and silver in the 5000m, as every relay team collected medals to boost the squad's tally to six.

Rutherford missed the championships with an ankle injury but believes the new breed can cope with the pressure of next year's Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

"After Kelly Holmes retired and that era I think we thought 'where are the medals going to come from?' It was a big thing when we got the London Olympics," Rutherford said. "Then all of a sudden we came through in London and we had a great time.

"We're in a situation where that's the same as it was before. We may have a couple of down years as the youngsters establish themselves but -- especially in the sprints where we've taken a lot of flak -- we are incredibly lucky to have a lot of strength in depth.

"We have had a lot of people making finals and being on the cusp of it happening. I'm still excited about the youngsters coming through."

But Rutherford agreed coaches need more support to help them bring through young athletes after performance director Neil Black said British Athletics is looking into plans to increase the number of elite level British coaches.

Rutherford said: "It seriously needs to be looked into and Toni [Minichiello, Jessica Ennis-Hill's former coach] has been very outspoken about it.

"There needs to be more to ensure the young British coaches are in a position to have the ability to maintain and bring through good athletes.

"I travel to America for my coaching, Mo travels, we've had other great athletes in the past who have had to travel for coaching. We need to be attracting the top coaches to the UK again because the talent is here."

Rutherford will have hernia surgery later this month as he looks to be fit for next season ahead of the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. He is defending champion in both and is eager to make a mark again after an injury troubled year.

"I have a chance of making history, if I win the Europeans I'll be the first long jumper to win three back-to back," he added. "I'm past 30 now but if I'm jumping well enough to win majors I'll keep going.

"I'm happy where I'm at. Before I got injured I felt I was in the best shape I've ever been and I feel they'll be no problem rekindling it."