Rutherford homing in on glory

Greg Rutherford soaring to long jump gold in Zurich.
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Greg Rutherford, the Olympic, European and Commonwealth gold medallist, has taken his preparations to the highest extreme … by having a long jump runway and pit built in his back garden.

Just weeks before he bids to add the world title to that collection, Great Britain's Rutherford tweeted a picture with the words 'It’s nearly ready'.

Rutherford’s father is a builder and constructed the site for his son who rose to fame when he won gold Olympic gold in London in 2012 before taking the Commonwealth title in Glasgow last year ahead of winning in Zurich at the European Athletics Championships.

"I realise it's a huge luxury but if that's what is going to help me become world and Olympic champion it's a worthwhile investment," said Rutherford.

"I'll use it for my run-ups and any short sprinting because it's 52 metres long. I can put decent 50-metre sprints down. It'll be a good training base. I've already got the gym, now I've got the track.

"It started off as a bit of a dream, now it's becoming reality. I've found with the gym I can go and work at half 10 at night. If you don't feel great at six, you can push it back. That's the massive benefit of having it at home."

The runway has been built on a strip of land by the house near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire that was not being used. When Rutherford asked his father if a long jump area could be put there he said "yes" and work started.

The 28-year-old is one of the most popular sportsmen in Britain after, literally, jumping into the public’s attention with his Olympic glory when he won with a leap of 8.31m.

He took Commonwealth gold with 8.20m and the European crown with 8.29m. He now wants to complete the set of major golds at this month’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

His best performance at the world championships was in Berlin in 2009 when he was fifth.

But by the time he arrives in China, he will be there after the best home comforts a long jumper could hope for.