King of bling Idowu only cares about gold at World Championships

Hackney athlete targeting top spot in South Korea

Hackney’s Phillips Idowu might have a bolt through his eyebrow, studs in his tongue and tattoos to rival David Beckham but the only bling he cares about is a medal to match his World Championship gold from Berlin two years ago.

Idowu’s immediate preparations for Daegu have raised eyebrows, skipping the trials in Birmingham and then producing a distinctly under-par display at the Aviva Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.

His season’s best of 17.59 metres ranks him fifth in the world, although world number one Teddy Tamgho will be absent from Daegu.

However, he insists there should be no cause for concern with legitimate circumstances to blame rather than poor form.

“I had a decent start with a 17.59 in Roe and then the rest of the competitions this season have been in terrible conditions so I’ve not been able to get the performance that I want,” said Idowu.

“But I’ve been winning and I’ve been winning consistently so that is one positive I take out of it.

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“I have to change my main focus now because I haven’t jumped as far as I wanted to or would have liked to.

“But I’m in good shape and I’ve been jumping well so now for me it’s a case of ‘win this gold medal first and foremost’.

“I wasn’t at my freshest at the trials and then at Palace I wasn’t at my best.

“I jumped there because it was the last opportunity for the British public to let me compete at a home meet but I knew at that time that I wasn’t at my freshest plus I’d spent 40 minutes outside signing autographs before I got into warm up.”

The fact Idowu’s wins this season have come in poor weather could be a blessing. The team training camp in Ulsan saw regular deluges of rain and afternoon showers and torrential thunderstorms are regular forecasts for this time of year in Daegu.

“At the moment the weather is not looking like it’s going to be great and if that is the case then I’ll just take the win and I’ll be happy with that,” he added.

“I won last year in Barcelona in the rain and most of my meets this year have been in the rain, so I can’t moan about not being prepared.

“I’d prefer nice weather because I want to win with a good jump, so that I can avoid someone saying it was easier because Teddy wasn’t here.

“Although I’ve won this title, and a number of others, I still feel like I need to go out there and prove myself. I need to stamp my authority on the event so I can say ‘look, regardless of who’s here and who’s jumping what, when it comes to winning that gold medal you’ve got to come through me’.”

Idowu’s season so far is probably best remembered for his spat with UKA head coach Charles van Commenee over comments about social networking site Twitter.

Indeed his 140 character musings have noticeably decreased in recent days – controversy restricted to outrage that his favourite doughnut drive-thru had been targeted during the recent riots in Enfield.

“I am here now and focused on winning this title,” he said “I’ve not had the opportunity to go on my phone too much to be honest.”

Phillips Idowu has been selected for the Aviva GB&NI Team and is at an Aviva-funded preparation camp in Ulsan, Korea. Aviva’s support, both at home and abroad, is helping the team prepare to compete at their best. To find out more, go to or follow @AvivaAthletics on Twitter.