Rutherford eyes his fourth gold in Prague

Rutherford eyes his fourth gold in Prague
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Great Britain's long jump specialist, Greg Rutherford, during the European Athletics Team Championships in Braunschweig.

Greg Rutherford will spearhead the Great Britain team at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague – after once more showing he can land a big long jump when it matters.

Initially Rutherford only planned to compete once this winter, in Birmingham last Saturday, where he broke his indoor personal best with a leap of 8.17m.

It took him to the top of the European Athletics’ rankings until France’s Kafetien Gomis went a centimetre further the next day.

But it was a performance that convinced Rutherford he can chase his fourth major gold medal at the 02 Arena in the championships held from 6-8 March.

As Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion, Rutherford is a master of delivering on the big occasions and he will go to Prague determined to return home with more gold.

Rutherford, who has not competed indoors for Britain since 2010, is part of the 39-strong British team that includes world indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, in the pentathlon and Jenny Meadows, who is looking to regain the 800m crown she won in Paris in 2011.

Meadows has returned to the top of her event after a series of injuries and she leads the rankings with a time of 1:59.21, the only European to break two minutes this winter.

I feel in the shape of my life. I never take anything for granted but during those last few years (when she was injured), I thought ‘if I could win one more medal, I would appreciate it so much more’. It would be a massive success.Jenny Meadows

Ireland have named a team of 12 athletes and, fittingly, it includes Mark English in the 800m.

English is the outdoor bronze medallist from the European Athletics Championships in Zurich last summer.

I proved myself in the Europeans last summer and I am looking to do the same in Prague.  It is a completely different discipline running indoors. That arch in the track is so much more difficult to pass on.Mark English