No laughing matter as Brits forget lines

Headache for Van Commenee after Idowu and Ohuruogu deliver below-par performances as World Championships approach

At the start of day two of the Aviva London Grand Prix yesterday there was just the one burning question: who is Charles van Comedy?

By the end there were an awful lot more queries stacking up than the mystery of who has been parodying Charles van Commenee on Twitter. So many, only three weeks out from the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, that the head coach of the British team would have been in no laughing mood.

After Mo Farah's stunning 3,000m win and Jenny Meadows' superbly-judged 800m victory on Friday night, there was precious little home cheer yesterday for Van Commenee or for the 17,000 capacity Palace crowd.

Phillips Idowu was beaten by a former British team-mate and, more worryingly, by an emerging new rival for the world triple jump title he will be defending in Daegu. Christine Ohuruogu, the reigning Olympic champion, finished a weary eighth and last in the 400m.

Lawrence Okoye again failed to reproduce the one-off form that put him fifth in the world discus rankings, finishing ninth – and possibly out of the selection frame for Daegu. Then there was James Shane, another of the bright new things, suffering an achilles twinge in warm-up and pulling out of the Emsley Carr Mile. There were a few shafts of light. Helen Clitheroe lopped a 24sec chunk off her lifetime best as runner-up to US champion Lauren Fleshman in the 5,000m, the 37-year-old Preston Harrier clocking 15min 06.75sec and earning the "British Performance of the Day" award. There was also the heartening sight of Lisa Dobriskey edging closer to form, winning the 1500m from Hannah England in 4min 04.97sec.

Idowu cut a striking figure as he entered the arena with a bright blue stripe in his hair, prompting Charles van Comedy to tweet: "So Phillips disputes that he is a clown and attention seeker but turns up with blue and yellow hair. Okay."

It was in the midst of the real-life van Commenee's dispute with Idowu about whether he had announced his withdrawal from the European team Championships on Twitter that the head coach ventured the opinion that the social networking site was "for clowns and attention seekers".

Idowu gave a wry smile and turned on his heels without comment when asked whether he might be the joking van Comedy. He was similarly dismissive of the relevance of his performance – a modest 17.07m jump for third place behind Christian Taylor of the USA and Tosin Oke, the former British team member who now competes for Nigeria. "It was a bit of a below-par performance," Idowu said, "but to be honest I don't really care. No one is going to look back in a month's time and say 'I won Crystal Palace'. All I'm focused on now is winning gold in Daegu." The trouble is, so is the 21-year-old Taylor, who improved his lifetime best from 17.40m to 17.68m yesterday.

On this evidence, Ohuruogu is unlikely to get anywhere close to repeating the world-beating feats she achieved in securing the 400m title in Osaka in 2007 and the Olympic crown in Beijing a year later. After two years of injury, the 27-year-old Londoner has yet to get back into her stride on the comeback trail.

She was off the pace from the start, trailing home last in 51.87sec – eclipsed not just by her old rival Sanya Richards-Ross of the USA, a clear winner in 49.66sec, but also by her British team-mate Lee McConnell, who clocked a qualifying time for Daegu with 51.01sec in fifth place. "Don't slaughter me," Ohuruogu pleaded with the media. "I've had a bad day.

"I have to be realistic. I have not done much training. I have not done enough work to challenge these girls. I am trying to catch up. There's a lot of work do but I will still be going to Daegu."

At the end of a bad day for the Brits, there was a parade of the home squad on a double decker bus bearing the sign, "Next stop gold Daegu". There was also news of another recruit to the British track and field cause: Yamilé Aldama, the Cuban-born triple jumper who settled in London 10 years ago and who competed for Sudan after failing to gain a British passport in time for the 2003 World Championships.

With a complete dearth of world class talent in the women's hop, step and jump game, that was at least something to bring a smile to the face of Van Commenee.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Renewable Energy Construction Manager

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices