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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics rally to defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
John Cleese is promoting his new book
A-list actresses such as Deepika Padukone get paid a tenth of what their male counterparts make per film
The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
peopleUS footballer said he had hoped Michael Sam and Jason Collins coming out might have helped
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt

The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
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

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game