Athlete Phillips Idowu’s Olympic medal dreams were shattered yesterday as he failed to qualify for the final of the triple jump.
The Hackney-born sportsman, nicknamed the ‘invisible man’ because he disappeared in the lead up to the Games, only managed to clear 16.53 metres in his third and last attempt, leaving him 10 cm short of a place in the top 12 for next week’s final.
The 33-year-old, who’s been known to clear 17 metres with ease, had not competed competitively for two months after he slipped on a take-off board, which caused damage to a nerve in the back of his knee and hip.
The Beijing silver medallist, who grew up only a few miles away from the Olympic stadium, caused controversy after failing to turn up at the UK Athletic pre-Games training camp in Portugal. He said he stayed in London to carry on treatment on his hip injury with his own physiotherapists.
However, Idowu’s actions were heavily criticised by Team GB’s athletics coach Charles van Commenee, who said: “When he shows up and where he sleeps, we have no idea. I find it bizarre. We have to deal with the situation as it is presented to us”.
After losing out on his chance to qualify for the triple jump final, Idowu admitted: “I knew I would be rusty because it’s been a while.
“Conditions were difficult because of the wind and I knew that would be a factor, but that wasn’t me out there today. I’ve competed for 12 years and I can’t remember a time I’ve performed that badly.”
The British triple jumper said that he “wanted to battle for gold” but admitted it was all over and there was nothing that he could do. He added: “The crowd has been great. I’m upset that I let them down. All year I’ve been tagged as a medal favourite and I haven’t got the chance to go out there and do it.”
Meanwhile Idowu ruled out the idea of retiring just yet. “Definitely I am going to carry on competing. I don’t think you’ve seen the best of me yet. Regardless of my achievements at these Games I was never going to finish here”.