'Invisible man' Phillips Idowu to disappear once more

Triple jumper will miss World Championships and is out for the 'foreseeable future'

The so-called invisible man of British athletics, Phillips Idowu, is to take a break from the sport for the foreseeable future.

The Londoner insisted his decision was a mere au revoir in a sporting career during which he has won every major championship medal bar the Olympic title, which eluded the Hackney athlete so painfully on his doorstep last year, but it is hard to see how, at 34, he will come back from this.

It was in the build-up to the Games that the former UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee branded Idowu the "invisible man", the latest jab in some very public jousting between the pair. That acrimony could prove an unfortunate finale to Idowu's career after his decision to withdraw from the sport, meaning he will miss the World Championships in Moscow next month.

"After some careful consideration, I have decided that for the foreseeable future, I will be taking a step back from athletics," he said.

"I feel this is the right time for me to make this decision and it's not a choice I've made lightly. I greatly appreciate all of the support I have received over the past years, particularly from the British public and my team and my sponsors; it has been an extremely happy and successful time. I'm excited about pursuing other interests and taking other opportunities that present themselves to me during the break."

His first task is to swap his spikes for a spatula as one of the contestants in the latest series of Celebrity Masterchef. Quite what else is on the menu for one of the more mercurial figures in British athletics remains to be seen. When London was announced as the Olympic host city eight years ago in Singapore, the event seemed a fitting, hopefully golden, finale to Idowu.

However, the highlight of his career came in 2009, when he won gold at the World Championships in Berlin. That came a year after the Beijing Olympics, when he had been bitterly disappointed with the silver medal. Idowu jumped his way to the European title in 2010 to add to a Commonwealth title won in Melbourne in 2006.

But London proved a career nadir: a litany of hip, leg and knee injuries curtailed his preparations, and he failed to qualify for the final. After that, he insisted his goal was this year's World Championships. He even claimed to have aspirations to compete at the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. At the time, such a boast seemed fanciful, and now it seems even more unlikely.

Idowu insists he plans to carry on in the sport but, if not, events in London as well as his last competition a month ago, a leap of 16.41 metres in Rome's Stadio Olimpico – some way short of his personal best of 17.81m – would be a sad end to an illustrious career.

Neil Black, the UK Athletics performance director, said: "It's a big, brave decision for Phil and, whilst we're sad to see him hang up his spikes for now, he's had a fantastic career. I and many of my colleagues feel privileged to have worked alongside him through the ups and downs of a long career."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Ventilation Cleaning Operative

£15600 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower