BOA insist relationship with Phillips Idowu is 'excellent'


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The Independent Online

The British Olympic Association today denied they were the latest governing body to have fallen out with Phillips Idowu after Charles van Commenee insisted he would never apologise to the triple-jumper.

BOA chairman Lord Moynihan dismissed talk of a rift with Idowu after the organisation revealed they had asked to see his medical records in order to assess his fitness for London 2012.

Idowu was described by his agent as "incredibly disappointed and surprised" by the BOA's decision and had still to comply with their request this morning.

The BOA were expecting to receive the information imminently and claimed their only agenda was to give the 33-year-old "maximum support" in his quest for Olympic glory.

Idowu, who has admitted struggling with a nerve problem in his hip and back in the build-up to the Games, is being treated by his own medical people rather than by those at UK Athletics.

That may be because he is not on speaking terms with their head coach, Van Commenee, who he fell out with last year.

BOA chef de mission Andy Hunt said: "We know the relationship between the governing body and the athlete isn't as strong as it could be.

"We're now in a Games environment, Phillips comes under our duty of care and it's therefore important that we ensure we give him every possible support, we assess his fitness and ability to compete, and we give him as much support as we can to make sure he can."

Lord Moynihan added: "There's absolutely no controversy between Phillips and the BOA - let's be absolutely clear about this.

"This is due process.

"We came into this without the full information coming through from the governing body and that means that we need to know.

"The BOA's relationship with Phillips is excellent."

Hunt denied there was anything sinister behind the time Idowu has taken in providing his medical records.

"I don't think there has been a delay," he said, rubbishing suggestions the lines of communication had been "poor".

"There have been telephone calls back and forth and we expect to see the data very shortly."

Idowu failed to travel to Portugal for Team GB's warm-weather training camp this week and Van Commenee admitted yesterday to having no idea if the Beijing silver medallist would be fit for London 2012.

Hunt urged the athlete to submit himself to the "care" of the BOA.

"Our position is absolutely this is about a duty of care," he said.

"I can imagine no-one outside of Phillips more wants him to compete and win a medal than us, so be really clear on that.

"We really want Phillips to be here, to be successful. We want to see if we can help him, too.

"We've probably got the top medical experts in the team here, based at the Olympic Village, for us."

Hunt refused to be drawn on the process for ruling Idowu in or out of the Games but admitted the BOA had that power.

"There aren't hard and fast deadlines that are going to drive any particular decision," Hunt said, pointing out there was no-one waiting in the wings to replace Idowu.

"There isn't another triple-jumper to replace Phillips that met the standard.

"So, this isn't a case of de-selecting one athlete to replace another."

Van Commenee has told the BBC he will not apologise to Idowu, who he has not spoken to since he criticised the athlete for using Twitter to announce he was pulling out of last year's European Team Championships.

"An apology has to mean something - I am not going to apologise when I don't mean it," said Van Commenee, who confirmed he communicated with Idowu via his coach, Aston Moore.

"I have always been clear that communication is always open at this end but Phillips wants a public apology from me before he wants to speak to me and that is not going to happen.

"I won't apologise for the sake of apologising."

However, Van Commenee also said he would not exercise his right to pull Idowu out of the Games.