The Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford is hoping that boxing lessons at his local club will help provide him with another "golden" moment at the world championships in Moscow.
Rutherford recently took up boxing at the Milton Keynes Victors amateur boxing club to improve his long jump technique but has also found it has helped him recover from a hamstring injury he suffered in Paris in early July.
"I remember Allan Wells saying that he did a lot of speed boxing sessions and I thought it might be a good way for me to tap into key arm and shoulder movements for long jump," said Rutherford. "It's not like I am going to go out and become a boxer. But the first session I had opened my eyes instantly to 'flipping heck, this is hard work'.
"I would like to think I'd much prefer to try to talk my way out of a scenario than use my fists," he added. "The boxing is more for movement skills and tapping into the understanding of how my upper body moves better; on the jump side of things, my arms are all over the place. If I can find something that helps with that, then I think it could be golden."
Rutherford has been training up to four hours a day and having extensive physio on his hamstring in a bid to get to somewhere near his London 2012 peak for the world championships – and is quietly confident that he will succeed.
"I have healed to a level which I think has surprised some people, especially given the extent of the injury initially," he added. "Most people thought that that was me done for the year. For whatever reason, my body has healed at an exceptional rate. I fully expect to be ready and ready to go."
But Rutherford said he fully understood why many athletes, including David Rudisha, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Yohan Blake, would be missing the world championships through injury. "It's always going to be tough in the post-Olympic year," he said.
"Looking through history, you see certain people drop off and then others seize the opportunity to perform well. For me, I have had one major championship go incredibly well and I have had the taste of what that's like – and I want more of it.
"Ultimately, I love the sport, I love doing what I do," he added.
"There are not many people around the world who can say 'well, I get paid to jump into a sandpit'. That's my job. And I want to achieve more."
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