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Olympic champ to host back garden event

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Olympic champion Greg Rutherford is planning to host a long jump competition for some of the world’s top athletes – in his back garden.

Rutherford has a long jump runway and pit at his home in Woburn Sands near Milton Keynes.

“I think I will actually have an exceptionally good field of jumpers, better than a Diamond League meeting to be honest,” he said.

He said Australian long jumper Mitchell Watt was among the interested parties.

Rutherford, who won gold to Watt’s silver at London 2012, built the runway and pit with help from his father.

‘Party in the garden’

The plan is to host the event in September, after the Rio Olympics.

“We are going to get a grandstand for maybe 50 or 100 people, put it right next to the runway pit and after have a party in the garden,” said Rutherford.

“I want to get funding behind it so the athletes can be paid – I can create something that I feel the rest of the sport isn’t doing.”

Rutherford said Olympic and World Championships triple jump gold medallist Christian Taylor (USA) and World Championships long jump silver medallist Christian Lapierre had also expressed an interest in competing.

Speaking ahead of Friday evening’s Great City Games street athletics event in Manchester, Rutherford joked that Carl Lewis, the 1984 and 1988 Olympic gold medallist, would probably not be invited.

“I don’t think I’d want Carl anywhere near my house to be honest,” he said.

Lewis, along with world record holder Mike Powell, has been critical of the current state of long jumping.

“If him and Carl want to come back, I’ll welcome them all back. I’ll happily scalp them,” said Rutherford.

A British Athletics spokesman said Rutherford’s event would not be part of its ratified programme of meetings and it would be up to the athlete to seek his own sources of commercial funding.

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BBC Sport – Athletics