Former Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards believes Phillips Idowu will be ready for London 2012
Triple jump world recor-holder Jonathan Edwards is convinced Phillips Idowu can still shake off a disjointed London 2012 preparation that has seen him struggle with injury and challenge for Olympic gold next month.
Medal hope Idowu missed the Olympic trials in Birmingham last month, causing concern that with the Games just a month away he may not be in the best possible shape to take on the world’s best and rival Edwards’ gold from 12 years earlier in Sydney.
The 33-year-old has competed only three times so far this year, and will have to rely on a discretionary place in the Team GB squad.
At his last appearance – at a Diamond League meeting in Oregon on June 2 – Idowu injured himself, while the details of his latest injury setback haven’t been released.
Edwards, 46, admits he prepared in a different way to Idowu before competing at major championships. Ahead of the Sydney Games in 2000, when Edwards claimed gold, he competed until the last moment possible before the Olympics began.
However, he is aware Hackney-born Idowu does things differently, and is sure Britain’s leading triple jumper will be ready come August 7.
“Clearly for Phillips being injured is not what he wants four or five weeks out from competing in the most important competition of his life,” said Edwards, speaking at an event at Burntwood School in London in his role as an ambassador for Lloyds TSB’s National School Sport Week.
“That said, Phillips in previous years has come into major championships with very little competition and has jumped really, really well. So I’m not unduly worried about him.
“Ideally he would have been jumping at the trials, he would have got some competitions in his legs, he would have honed his technique to perfection, but I think Phillips will be okay.
“My philosophy to competing was to do it every week leading up to a championship. I used the competitions to get myself race fit, jumping fit, so for me to miss competitions was not ideal at all.
“But Phillips seems to be a different kind of athlete, prepares himself in a different way, and in previous years he has had that kind of approach where he hasn’t jumped much and still done well in championships.”
Not that Edwards is tipping Beijing silver-medallist Idowu to claim gold in front of his home crowd. The Londoner, whose world record jump of 18.29m came at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg, believes Idowu can win a medal, but he places American Christian Taylor as the favourite to top the podium.
He said: “I’m not sure I’ve ever had Phillips down as favourite for gold.
“When he lost the world title to Christian Taylor last year, with Christian jumping 17.96m, I think he automatically became the favourite for the Games.
“It is a distance Phillips has never jumped and Christian Taylor I think is a really outstandingly talented athlete.
“I’d probably have Christian as the slight favourite. Will Claye, the world indoor champion, is also very strong. So it is the three of them, but I think Christian just about edges it.”
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week took place from 25-29 June 2012 and is Britain’s biggest school sport event with more than four million pupils staging their own Games this year. Find our more at schoolsportweek.org