Phillips Idowu jumps back into GB vest for first time since Olympics row

The triple jumper will represent his country for the first time since his public row with London 2012 head coach Charles van Commenee
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The Independent Online

The prodigal son of athletics is back. The triple jumper Phillips Idowu will compete in a Great Britain vest for the first time since London 2012 after being selected for the European Team Championships later this month.

Perhaps fittingly, it is the same event which sparked Twittergate in 2011, a very public row between Idowu and the then head coach Charles van Commenee.

The pair's fractured relationship continued up until the Olympics, for which Idowu failed to win his fitness battle properly. He later made the decision to take time out of the sport, leading many to speculate that the 35-year-old's career was at an end.

But Idowu, who has previously admitted to a penchant for proving people wrong, has done just that with his surprise comeback to the team for the two-day championships in Braunschweig, Germany, from 21 June.

The Londoner, who had his funding cut by British Athletics last October, has enjoyed a low-key early-season return, training and competing in Australia under new coach Gary Bourne. But he is Britain's top triple jumper this year with a best of 16.99 metres Down Under last month.

British Athletics' performance director, Neil Black, welcomed his return to the fold as part of a predominantly young and inexperienced 48-strong team: "He has the leading performance in the triple jump and therefore he is a natural pick, and we are delighted he is back in the team," said Black. "He wants to train, he wants to compete, he wants to be part of athletics."

Quite whether Idowu can get back to the distances that won him world and European titles as well as Olympic silver in Beijing in 2008 remains to be seen. His PB is 17.81m.

But, said Black: "He is an amazing physical specimen and he's proved himself time and again in the past. We want to see Phillips competing for Britain in all competitions that he wants to. We want to see him jumping far."

Black, a far less abrasive character than Van Commenee, insisted there would be no repeat of the Twitter spat three years on. "I had to genuinely be reminded about the phrase Twittergate," he said. "Phillips and I have never had any kind of challenges."