Athletics Presents Best Of British, Despite Controversy Surrounding The Sport

Posted: September 2, 2015 in Athletics
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Ennis Rutherford Farah

Athletics has been suffering a bad reputation for a while now, as doubts over the integrity of its competitors continue to surround the sport.

The worry that the ‘clean’ competitors that have achieved success only by not being caught is a pressing issue, and something that will be addressed by incoming IAAF president, Lord Sebastian Coe as he looks to restore some credibility to athletics.

With Justin Gatlin having returned now following his second doping ban and now running at a seemingly faster pace than he was whilst on his last batch, the doubts have resurfaced and many deemed it to be a ‘victory’ for the sport that he could not wrestle away World Championship gold from the charismatic and clean Usain Bolt.

But despite the sport being in disarray, the World Championships did show us one comforting thing: Britain’s greatest sportspeople are still based within the track and field spectrum.

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Ennis-Hill delivered World Championship gold despite only having a child 13 months ago

Gold was delivered once again by the three people responsible for that Super Saturday back in 2012, as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford all delivered once again on the big stage.

Yet these successes were perhaps even greater than what they achieved in London three years ago, with all three athletes having undergone extreme stresses over the past 12 months in the build up to these prestigious championships.

Ennis-Hill for starters became the golden girl of London 2012 after her success in the heptathlon, with only cyclist Victoria Pendleton perhaps rivalling her for a place in the hearts of a jubilant home Olympic Games.

Fast forward three years and she has added the ‘Hill’ to her name after getting married and was forced to miss last year’s Commonwealth Games due to pregnancy.

Ennis-Hill gave birth to her son only in July last year, but she has since lost any baby weight she might have accrued, regained her strength and fitness and made her way back to the summit of the world’s greatest heptathletes to once again claim gold in the space of 13 months.

Mo Farah

Farah ignored the doubters to clinch double World Championship gold

Mo Farah has spent the past 6 months being dogged by accusations of doping himself after his coach Alberto Salazar was believed to have been involved in doping his athletes, with Farah having his achievements so far questioned.

Farah has vehemently denied any wrong-doing, but the whispers have persisted, with Farah pulling out of a Diamond League meeting only in June, citing emotional exhaustion for his withdrawal in the wake of such allegations.

The easy thing for the Somalia-born athlete to do was to again withdraw, in the knowledge that he may struggle to replicate his London feats under such intense scrutiny, and any success he might have being yet more ‘proof’ of his guilt.

Yet Farah did show up and has promptly defended his Olympic titles in the 5000m and 10000m races,  in a defiant display that put him out in the open and challenged anyone to question his integrity to the sport.

Greg Rutherford

Greg Rutherford now holds all four major long jumping titles

On to Rutherford and we see a man that always delivers when the crunch comes along, and while he has not quite had the same obstacles as the other two, is more than worthy of worship by us mere mortals as he excels at both personal and professional life with apparent ease.

Rutherford himself is only recently a father and has recently completely disrupted his entire training schedule to be closer to his family in the wake of his son’s birth, going to the point of building a long jump pit in his back garden.

Despite all those distractions and large points of isolation from the rest of the team and coaching staff, Rutherford has once again come up trumps, securing a feat that will live long in the ages of time.

His Olympic success was often dismissed as a fluke win due to the length of his winning jump, but his massive jump to clinch World Championship ensured he will go down in history as one of Britain’s greatest ever athletes, as he now currently holds all four major titles, with European and Commonwealth gold having been claimed in between the two big ones.

Only Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell, Jonathan Edwards and Daley Thompson have achieved the ‘Grand Slam’ of track and field gold medals, so Rutherford’s continued dominance in the long jumping scene is something that has to be admired; even more so given his continued dedication to being a family man as well.

With England footballers continuing to fail on the pitch and behave inappropriately off of it, cricket littered with inconsistencies and even now our rugby players (previously the bastion of proper behaviour compared to their footballing peers) seeing their World Cup preparations disrupted by assault and drink driving charges, British sport is in more need than ever of having more inspirational people to stand up and be counted in front of the next generation.

Chris Froome obviously deserves an honourable mention for his continued success in the wake of similar unfair accusations to Farah, Andy Murray is perhaps unfairly divisive among fans of tennis, but there is otherwise something of a dearth of ‘heroes’ within British sport.

The success of these three once again, after trying years for each of them is something to be celebrated, for more than just sporting reasons.

  1. […] Athletics Presents Best Of British, Despite Controversy Surrounding The Sport […]

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