Phillips Idowu announces he is to take a 'step back from athletics'

The former world triple jump champion has endured a difficult spell spanning back before the London Olympics

Former world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu will not be competing at next month's World Championships in Moscow after announcing today he is “taking step back from athletics”.

The 34-year-old failed to make the Olympic final last year and has been conspicuous by his low profile since then, in contrast to his public falling-out with former GB head coach Charles van Commenee.

Despite not being selected for Great Britain at last month's European Team Championships in Gateshead, Idowu was expected to compete at this weekend's World Championship trials in Birmingham.

However, Idowu today released a statement saying: "After some careful consideration I have decided that for the foreseeable future I will be taking a step back from athletics.

"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 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 this break."

Idowu jumped 16.44 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Rome last month but that sort of performance would not even have earned selection for Moscow given the A standard is 17.20m.

Today's announcement raises questions about the athlete's future given what he has already achieved.

He has held world, European and Commonwealth titles and was favourite going into the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He was trumped by Nelson Evora but responded by claiming the world title a year later and following that up with European gold in 2010.

Idowu travelled to Daegu, South Korea, as favourite to retain his world title in 2011 but a mammoth effort by Charles Taylor saw the American crowned champion with the Briton second.

Injury affected Idowu's preparations going into the Olympics last year, and today's statement leaves many question marks as to what his next move will be.