London: Echevarría, Manyonga And Henderson Join Rutherford
Olympic champion Jeff Henderson, world and Commonwealth champion Luvo Manyonga and Cuban sensation and reigning world indoor champion Juan Miguel Echevarría have all confirmed they will be joining Rutherford when he competes at the London Stadium for the final time next month.
South Africa’s Manyonga will return to the London Stadium with fond memories having won gold at last year’s World Championships. Since then, the 27-year-old has continued his great form, winning silver at this year’s World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, before winning Commonwealth gold with a Games’ record mark on the Gold Coast.
It is, however, world indoor champion Juan Miguel Echevarría who has taken the world by storm in 2018. The Cuban beat Manyonga by two centimetres at the world indoors, but, since then, Echevarria has continued to produce bigger and bigger jumps.
So big, in fact, the 19-year-old came close to running out of sand at the IAAF Diamond League event in Stockholm earlier this month. His jump of 8.83m was the longest jump in any conditions since 1995, but a tailwind of +2.1m metres per second stopped him from jumping into the record books.
This week, Echevarría continued his momentum in Ostrava, Czech Republic, when he jumped 8.66m in unseasonably chilly conditions; a leap landing him equal 10th among the longest jumps of all time. If the Cuban continues this form, Mike Powell’s world record of 8.95m from the 1991 World Championships is likely to be under threat.
Not only could the London crowd see history being made at the Müller Anniversary Games, there will also be the rare - and final - opportunity to see the last two Olympic champions compete together, with 2016 Olympic champion Jeff Henderson confirming he will join Rutherford on the London Stadium runway.
Henderson is still jumping big, recording his furthest jump since 2015 earlier this year. But, no long jumper has been able to compete with the standard Echevarría has consistently set over recent weeks which is set to create an enthralling long jump competition at the London Stadium.
Commenting on the stellar field, Rutherford said: “They are all incredible jumpers, they have got youth on their side, bundles of ability and it is going to be really nice to be surrounded by them. I think with Echevarría we might even see him break the world record.
“My only hope is that he doesn’t break the world record in the London Stadium because it will be nice for me to just have the farewell which is just focusing on me, rather than those amazing guys. But it is going to be a red-hot competition and I’m really excited for it,” Rutherford added.
Many of the world’s best athletes have already confirmed they will be competing in London, including Andre De Grasse and Christian Coleman in the men’s 100m, Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers in the women’s 200m, as well as a host of Para athletics stars.
See the biggest stars at the Müller Anniversary Games on 21-22 July; for tickets visit: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/events-and-tickets/muller-anniversary-games-2018