London 2012: Idowu facing fitness battle ahead of Olympic Games
Pressure is building on Hackney triple jumper
Hackney triple jumper Phillips Idowu is in a race to prove his fitness ahead of the Games, having not competed since the beginning of June ahead of his qualifying session in the Olympic Stadium.
The 33-year-old this week pulled out of a Team GB training camp in Portugal, revealing that he had chosen to remain in London to seek specialist physiotherapy on a hip injury.
Idowu last competed at a meeting in Eugene, Oregon on June 2, when he fell awkwardly, injuring his foot.
The eccentric Hackney resident was then due to compete at the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, but pulled out at the last minute after feeling a hip injury in the warm-up.
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However, since opting not to go on the trip to Portugal, the British Olympic Association have publicly asked to see Idowu’s medical records.
“He’s incredibly disappointed and surprised as to why the BOA has chosen to do this,” said Idowu’s agent Jonathan Marks.
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“We are more than happy to send the records. Phillips is an athlete who has proven that if he gets to the start line then he is one of those who can win a medal.”
Meanwhile, Idowu remains confident that he will be fit in time for the Games, with his qualification session set to take place in the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, August 7.
“I’m fine, I’m okay,” Idowu said. “Things are being blown out of proportion. The season’s goal is still the same – to come away with the Olympic gold medal.
“That’s what I’ve been looking for since the heartbreak of Beijing.
“Even if the build-up to the Games hasn’t been what I wanted, I’ll always come out and jump a season’s best.
“I’ll do everything I can to make sure I’m pain free for the competition so that I can jump to the best of my abilities. That’s the plan.”
Idowu has really struggled to find consistency and form this season, competing just three times and registering jumps of 17.05m, 17.24 and 17.31, some way short of his personal best of 17.81.
However, Hackney’s golden boy has shown before that he has what it takes to pull something magical out of the bag, and Sydney Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards, is backing Idowu to show what he can do on the world’s biggest stage.
“My take on it is that he doesn’t fancy going away for two weeks to a training camp,” said Edwards.
“He’s chosen his own path to get to London 2012, and I hope that’s what it is, rather than a serious injury.
“It would be really, really sad if he wasn’t fit enough to compete. But this is what Phillips’ character is all about.
“Everyone’s questioning his fitness and then he’ll show up and prove to everyone he was fine all along.”
Having won silver four years ago at the Beijing Games, Idowu will be desperate to go one better this time around, in a stadium, that is a hop, a skip and a jump from where the 33-year-old grew up.
And the odds are slowly building in favour of Idowu too as his long-term rival, Frenchman Teddy Tamgho, was forced to pull out of the Games back in June, with an ankle injury.
Despite the withdrawal of the Frenchman, Idowu remains second favourite to clinch gold next month, and can be backed with odds of around 5/1 to win the triple jump competition, behind America’s Christian Taylor.
Idowu will have a score to settle with Taylor, after the 22-year-old jumped a spectacular 17.96m at the World Championships in Daegu last year, as the Hackney man was forced to settle for second place.
This year, in front of a home crowd, only a fully fit Idowu will stand a chance of getting his own back.