Long jump star Greg Rutherford pulls out of World Indoor Championships

Greg Rutherford has withdrawn from the World Indoors in order to focus on the outdoor season. Ian Walton/Getty Images

Great Britain's Greg Rutherford has pulled out of this week's World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

The 31-year-old, an Olympic, World and European long jump champion. has decided to focus on the outdoor season, British Athletics has announced.

Rutherford competed just three times in 2017, undergoing groin and ankle surgery, and with the European Championships in Berlin in August, wants to be fully fit for the summer.

He said: "My performance from the British Championships to the Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow at the weekend showed improvement but it was still not at the level I demand of myself.

"It has not been an easy decision but I have therefore chosen to withdraw from the World Indoor Championships. I am now going to take a few days to recover from Glasgow before resuming training as I prepare for a successful summer.

"I am committed to becoming the first long jumper to win three European titles in a row and will be training hard over the coming months to return to the track as fit as ever."

The 31-year-old was given a host nation place for the World Indoor Championships after winning the British indoor title at Arena Birmingham earlier this month.

Rutherford then competed for the second time in the space of the week at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Glasgow on Sunday.

He came fourth, jumping 7.89 metres, and had already admitted he was a doubt for a return to Birmingham.

British athletics performance director Neil Black added: "It has been fantastic to see Greg return to competition this indoor season and we have been impressed by the progress he has made.

"Unfortunately, that progress is not quite enough for him to be able to compete at the high standards he demands in Birmingham.

"Greg is a great role model and ambassador for the sport as demonstrated at the British Indoor Championships and Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow and we look forward to seeing him back fully fit in the summer."