UK Athletics overlooks Phillips Idowu for European Team Championships but denies rift
The triple jumper was available
Thursday 13 June 2013
Phillips Idowu has been overlooked for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad for the European Team Championships later this month but, for once, the announcement came without the acrimony that has followed one of the more divisive athletes in recent times.
Where in the past salvos have been fired between Idowu and UK Athletics officials, today's squad announcement was more akin to a handing-over of an olive branch.
The triple jumper has competed just once this season, in Rome last week when he achieved a best of 6.44m, putting him 51st on the world list in 2013 and third in UK terms behind Nathan Douglas and Julian Reid.
Idowu, who has a slight heel injury, made himself available for the European Team Championships in Gateshead from 22 to 23 June but, after consultations between UK Athletics and Idowu's camp, it was agreed to let him focus on preparing for the World Championships trials next month.
Head coach Peter Eriksson, who will step down from his role after Gateshead for family reasons, explained: "Looking on current form, we picked Nathan. We know that Phillips is working on getting ready for the World Championships and the trials. We all agreed he needs more time."
Idowu's agent, Ricky Simms, echoed the unfamiliar sentiment of peace between both parties – unlike in the build-up to London 2012: "Phillips is happy to concentrate on training."
Similarly, the former Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu has been overlooked for the individual 400m at Gateshead, her place instead going to Perri Shakes-Drayton, more typically a 400m hurdle specialist. Eriksson said: "Chrissy is in a very hard training block so is more inclined just to run the relays."
The undoubted star attraction of the British team aiming to win the meeting for the first time since 2008 is Mo Farah, who will compete in the 5,000m, and the Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford. The high jump bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz completes the British Olympic medallists in action from London 2012.
UKA, unlike during the reign of Eriksson's predecessor Charles van Commenee, has not set any public medal targets for the event, but the Swede said: "I think the goal is to be in the top two. Ultimately, the goal is to win. We've got a good chance."
Shakes-Drayton was somewhat surprisingly named captain considering the 24-year-old's relative inexperience on the international stage and with more established names in the squad like Farah, Rutherford and the 400m hurdles world champion Dai Greene.
But Eriksson said the Londoner had been given the honour for the manner in which she recovered from her Olympic disappointment, when she failed to make her final but was then crowned double European champion indoors earlier this year.
"I take the Olympics as an experience," Shakes-Drayton said. "I look at it as unfinished business." She will test herself over the 400m hurdles tonight at the Bislett Games in Oslo – where Usain Bolt runs in the 200m – before turning her attention to the flat.
Shakes-Drayton described herself as a "natural leader". She said: "I'm the eldest of four. I've got two brothers and one sister. People might say I'm bossy. I think I'm being helpful!"
GB & NI European Team Championships
At Gateshead International Stadium, Sat 22 & Sun 23 June:
Men 100m J Dasaolu; 200m D Talbot; 400m N Levine; 800m A Osagie; 1500m C Grice; 3,000m D Bishop; 5,000m M Farah; 110m hurdles W Sharman; 400m hurdles D Greene; 3,000m s/chase R Mullett; High jump R Grabarz; Long jump G Rutherford; Triple jump N Douglas; Pole vault S Lewis; Shot put Z Duquemin; Discus B Morse; Hammer M Dry; Javelin L Doran; 4x100m H Aikines-Aryeetey, D Chambers, J Dasaolu, J Ellington, J Fearon, A Gemili, R Kilty, D Talbot; 4x400m M Bingham, R Buck, N Levine, M Rooney, R Strachan, C Williams
Women 100m A Philip; 200m A Onuora; 400m P Shakes-Drayton; 800m J Judd; 1500m hurdles H England; 3,000m hurdles L Weightman; 5,000m E Gorecka; 100m hurdles T Porter; 400m hurdles E Child; 3,000m s/chase E McColgan; High jump I Pooley; Long jump S Proctor; Triple jump Y Aldama; Pole vault H Bleasdale; Shot put S McKinna; Discus J Lally; Hammer S Hitchon; Javelin F Jones; 4x100m A Lewis, A Onuora, A Philip, T Porter, B Williams; 4x400m M Beesley, E Child, S Cox, K McAslan, C Ohuruogu, V Ohuruogu.
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