Greg Rutherford withdraws from 2018 Commonwealth Games

Greg Rutherford on the way to winning gold at London 2012
Greg Rutherford won Olympic gold at London 2012

Defending long jump champion Greg Rutherford has pulled out of the England team for the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.

The 31-year-old, who has withdrawn despite having recently recovered from an ankle injury, said it was "not a decision that's been easy to make".

He said he had previously "competed without a good training block" and his "performance has suffered as a result".

Rutherford won gold at the 2012 London Olympics and bronze at Rio 2016.

But injury prevented him from defending his world title when he withdrew from the World Championships in London last year because of the ankle problem.

He added: "I really would have loved to have been involved with the team.

"The Commonwealth Games have been brilliant over the years for me and my two medals (gold in 2014 and silver in 2010) from three Games have been highlights for me.

"I am planning on easing myself back into competition, possibly indoors, and then building to the summer season."