Long-jumper Rutherford happy to be Olympic gold favourite

Reuters
Aug 26, 2015; Beijing, China; Greg Rutherford (GBR) poses after winning the long jump during the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at National Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports - RTX1PTA6

Track and Field: IAAF World Championships in Athletics-Evening Session

Aug 26, 2015; Beijing, China; Greg Rutherford (GBR) poses after winning the long jump during the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at National Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports - RTX1PTA6

(Reuters) - British gold medallist Greg Rutherford is looking forward to defending his Olympic title and says he is not fazed by being the bookmakers' favourite to win the long jump at the Games in Rio in August.

The 29-year-old won gold at the 2012 London Games with a leap of 8.31 metres and is backing himself to win gold again in Brazil.

"I won't shy away from saying I always put a lot of pressure on myself," Rutherford told British media.

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"I will go into the Olympic Games expecting to win the Olympic Games. It is just how I see it and it's no disrespect to everybody else because there are some very good jumpers there."

Rutherford is quoted by Skybet at 5-4 for Olympic gold, with Marquis Dendy from the United States, who cleared 8.41 metres indoors in March, at 7-2.

"It's great that I'm the bookies' favourite, and I quite like that. I don't think I've been bookies' favourite for anything before now," Rutherford said.

Rutherford missed the World Indoor Championships in March due to illness but said he was in the best shape of his career ahead of the start of the Diamond League in Rome on Thursday.

"Arguably I'm in the best shape I've ever been," he added.

"I had a little adductor problem and stupid chest infection that wrote off the indoor season, but that quickly passed and I was training really well again."

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru, Editing by Neville Dalton)

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