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Long jumpers also friendly rivals
John Salvado
16:31 AEST Fri Apr 5 2013

The two key protagonists in the London Olympics long jump final will continue to see plenty of each other in the coming years.

It's now part of athletics history that Greg Rutherford was part of a triumphant trio for the home nation on Super Saturday in London.

In the space of a couple of hours, Rutherford, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and distance running supremo Mo Farah each won gold before a delirious crowd that looked to Australian long jump runner-up Mitchell Watt like "90,000 people waving Union Jacks".

All three British athletes were recognised by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year's honours list.

"For me it was tough post-Games, it all got a bit mental," Rutherford said on Friday ahead of his clash with Watt in Saturday's Melbourne IAAF World Challenge meet.

"Training went onto the back-burner.

"I went to America in January and got some really good work done.

"I decided that I was going to miss the indoor season, but I wanted a chance to compete, I wanted to see where my body was at.

"I thought the best place to go was somewhere nice and hot and Australia had it all."

Rutherford is coached in Arizona by celebrated US coach Dan Pfaff, who is also working with Australian Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker and leading British vaulters Steve Lewis and Holly Bleasdale.

Watt is close to Rutherford and Hooker and also plans to spend time with Pfaff in the coming years, with the blessing of his own coach Gary Bourne.

"I've had a really good relationship with Gary," said Watt.

"I've won four medals in the last four seasons.

"I have no real reason to leave, but to change the stimulus we'll be looking to add new things into my training program.

"It's like any job - if you keep doing the same thing over and over you get a bit bored and you feel like you need a change.

"We'll sit down when Greg gets back to the US and see what we can do.

"I know Gary is open to having Greg here and Greg's coach is the same with me."

Watt, 25, has battled cramp early in the 2013 season, but insists he is miles ahead in his preparation compared to last year.

With Asafa Powell a late withdrawal due to a hamstring strain suffered at last weekend's Stawell Gift, in-form American Wallace Spearmon has been drafted in to add some lustre to the men's sprints on Saturday, where he will come up against Australians Josh Ross and Tim Leathart.

Spearmon was fourth in the Olympic 200m final in London.

And he is in slick early-season form, having clocked 9.92 seconds in the 100m at the Texas Relays last weekend.

Spearmon believes he has a real shot of bettering the Australian 200m allcomers record of 19.92 set by Namibian great Frankie Fredericks in Melbourne in 1999.

Newly-crowned world cross-country champion Japhet Korir from Kenya will take on Australian Ryan Gregson in the 5000m at Lakeside Stadium.


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