British triple jumper is rounding into form and is expected to take part at the London 2012 Olympics
Having refused to join the rest of the British team at the official holding camp in Portugal, injured triple jumper Phillips Idowu should be fit to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Idowu, one of the host city’s biggest hopes to deliver a local medal after having grown up within sight of the Olympic Stadium, has had a summer plagued by injury and his participation in London 2012 has been a subject of much debate.
His last competition was at the Eugene Diamond League meeting in June, where he picked up an injury and withdrew mid-way through the competition.
The 2009 world champion and 2008 Olympic silver medallist had hoped to compete at the London Diamond League, but during warm-up he was unable to shake off some tightness in his hip and opted not to take part.
Instead of flying out to Portugal with the rest of the British team, Idowu stayed in the UK to try to fix his niggling injuries which include a nerve problem in his back and left hip and knee. It sparked a row between himself and the British Olympic Association, who demanded his medical records, which Idowu then provided last Thursday.
But now the BOA are hopeful that Idowu will take part in the Games.
“Our medical team are in discussions with Phillips’s team, including his physio,” said BOA chef de mission Andy Hunt on Tuesday. “Phillips is making good progress and we expect him to compete,”
Meanwhile, Christian Taylor – the American who defeated Idowu at last year’s World Championships – has been talking of breaking world records in London.
Taylor produced a stunning jump of 17.96m to win in Daegu last year, putting him fifth on the world all-time list. He is the leading jumper in the world this season with 17.63m and has now set his sights on breaking the world record of 18.29m, set by Jonathan Edwards in 1995.
“I grew up watching Jonathan Edwards,” said Taylor. “He’s very speed orientated. I studied him and the heights he gets off the board. I’m here to surpass his mark.
“I did the long jump. I used to jump off sofas. Long jump became boring for me, so I got on to YouTube and that’s where I watched and just learned from that when I was about 15.”
In Idowu’s absence from the London Diamond League meeting, Taylor went on to win with 17.41m. But Taylor believes Idowu will be ready to compete in the triple jump qualifying round on Tuesday.
“He’s playing head games,” said Taylor. “He warmed up (at the London Diamond League meeting) and said ‘See you in 20 days’. You want to compete with the best. I hope he is there come the 7th.
“I respect him. He’s a strong jumper. I’m not sleeping on his experience. It only takes one jump to win.”
Taylor, the world youth champion from 2007 and this year’s world indoor silver medallist, added he wants to “surprise more people” with his performance in the Olympic Stadium.
“I’m trying to be a star who everyone talks about,” he said.
If he wins, Taylor will be the first US triple jumper to win Olympic gold since Kenny Harrison in Atlanta 1996 – a man who also handed a leading Briton a surprise defeat, forcing Edwards into the silver medal position. But Taylor likens himself to the 1992 champion Mike Conley.
“I’m more of a power jumper. A lot of people say I’m similar to Mike Conley. I’m just using my strength and I have speed,” said Taylor, who also boasts a 400m PB of 45.34 and a long jump best of 8.19m.
“I’m trying to follow in their footsteps. I’m here to win. It will be an absolute blessing to bring it back.”