Brit hero facing 'biggest challenge' since London gold
SHOTLIST: SHANGHAI, MAY 16, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV SOUNDBITE 1 Greg Rutherford, British London 2012 gold medallist, long jump (English, 10 sec): "For me this is definitely going to be the biggest challenge since the Olympics. I had a couple of competitions down in Australia up against Mitch Watt again and luckily came out on top there." SOUNDBITE 2 Greg Rutherford, British London 2012 gold medallist, long jump (English, 9 sec): "So Mitch is going to be here which is going to make it quite interesting. Dwight is obviously here. It is a stacked field for us, so by far the biggest competition we have all had so far." -Various of journalists at press conference at Shanghai Stadium --------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORIES: Athletics-Diamond-CHN,lead-PREVIEW Athletics: Brit hero facing 'biggest challenge' since London by Neil Connor SHANGHAI, May 16, 2013 (AFP) - British long jump hero Greg Rutherford said he's facing his "biggest challenge" since taking London Olympics gold Thursday when he goes up against his two predecessors at Shanghai's Diamond League meet. Rutherford, one of seven current Olympic champions in Shanghai, will face Beijing 2008 winner Irving Saladino and America's Dwight Phillips, the Athens 2004 gold-medallist who has been sidelined with injury for the last two years. Australia's world 2011 and Olympic 2012 silver medallist Mitchell Watt is also vying for victory in Saturday's meet in Shanghai, the second leg in this year's Diamond League series. "For me this is definitely going to be the biggest challenge since the Olympics," Rutherford told reporters in Shanghai. "Mitch is going to be here which is going to make it quite interesting. Dwight is obviously here. It is a stacked field for us, so by far the biggest competition we have all had so far." Rutherford beat Watt at the Melbourne World Challenge in April, but said he could not recall the last time all four long jumpers had faced each other. The long jump is one of four re-runs in Shanghai between gold and silver medallists from London 2012, including a men's 400m duel with Olympic champion Kirani James from Grenada, and Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic. The pair also come up against the bronze medallist from London, Trinidad and Tobago's Lalonde Gordon, and LaShawn Merritt of the US, who took gold in Beijing. In the men's 110m hurdles, Olympic champion Aries Merritt of the US faces compatriot Jason Richardson, who claimed silver in London. China's national athletics hero Liu Xiang, who won the 110m hurdles at the Athens Olympics, remains out of action after his dramatic injury exit from the London Games. Three double Olympic champions are among the women's stars with Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce competing in the 100m against world title-holder Carmelita Jeter, whom she beat into second place in London. Ethiopia's two-time Olympic champion Meseret Defar heads a talented 5,000m field, and Yelena Isinbayeva, considered the greatest ever woman pole vaulter, is another headliner. The Russian failed to become the first women in history to win three successive Olympic crowns when she took bronze in London, a result which led her to postpone her retirement plans. She indicated that she may decide to end her career on home soil at the world championships later this year. "About my retirement, it is going to be a difficult decision, and you know it is difficult to say right now what I am going to do after the world championships in Moscow. It will depend on my performance there," she said. Men's javelin star Andreas Thorkildsen will also hope to claim victory in Shanghai after a disappointing London 2012. The Norwegian gold-medallist from Athens and Beijing is facing off against 19-year-old Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad, who surprised the world by winning the Olympic title last summer. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Athletics-Diamond-CHN-Isinbayeva Athletics: Isinbayeva says future hinges on Moscow SHANGHAI, China, May 16, 2013 (AFP) - Russian pole-vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva Thursday said she was keen to claim her third Olympic gold but may quit if she flops at this year's Moscow world championships. Isinbayeva, the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic champion who finished third at last year's London Games, told reporters in Shanghai that "everything will depend" on her performance on home soil in August. "About my retirement, it is going to be a difficult decision, and you know it is difficult to say right now what I am going to do after the world championships in Moscow. It will depend on my performance there," she said. "I still would like to have my third gold medal. If I would have done it in London, for sure I could stop after Moscow. But for the moment I don't know," Isinbayeva added, ahead of Saturday's Diamond League meet. "I am just thinking what to do. Everything will depend on the Moscow world championships." Last week, former Soviet pole-vault great Sergei Bubka predicted that the outdoor world record-holder will end her career in Moscow, rather than push on to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Isinbayeva, 30, had planned to retire after London, but she extended her career after she failed to become the first woman in history to win three successive Olympic crowns. Although Isinbayeva has set 30 world records, indoors and outdoors, she took only bronze at last year's London Olympics and failed to win a medal at either of the last two world championships.
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