London 2012: 'Invisible man' Phillips Idowu fails to qualify for Olympics triple jump final but dismisses talk of retirement

Failure to qualify brings the curtain down on a bizarre fortnight for
the Hackney-born athlete

The soap opera came
to an end in little over an hour. Phillips Idowu, the Beijing silver medallist
who virtually disappeared in the run up to the Games following a row with his
coach and doubts about his fitness, failed to qualify for the final of the
triple jump today.

It brings the curtain down on a bizarre fortnight for the Hackney-born athlete who had been one of Team GB's high hopes for a track and field medal.

Idowu, who can usually clear 17 metres even on a bad day, could only manage a best of 16.53 metres, leaving him in 14th place and well below the mark needed to proceed into the finals. The 33-year-old east Londoner has suffered in recent months from a trapped nerve after he slipped on a take off board and damaged his left knee. As preparations for the Olympic Games got under way, Idowu went underground, refusing to turn up to Team GB's pre-Olympic training camp in Portugal and only arriving in the athletes village on Sunday evening. He insisted he was simply in London preparing for the games but he ended up being dubbed “the invisible man”.

In a series of candid post-match interviews, Idowu recognised that he was not at the top of his game.

“I knew I would be rusty because it's been a while,” he said, “Conditions were difficult because of the wind and I knew that would be a factor, but that wasn't me out there today. I've competed for 12 years and I can't remember a time I've performed that badly.”

He added: "I'm guessing I will need surgery at the end of this season. I'll call it a day and wrap up the season. I wanted to battle for gold, but now I'll go home and reassess and try not to be down about my performance. It's over and there's nothing I can do. The crowd have been great. I'm upset that I let them down. All year I've been tagged as a medal favourite and I haven't got the chance to go out there and do it."

Idowu had been one of Britain's greatest gold medal hopes in the Olympic Stadium. In Beijing he won the silver medal. But recently the headlines have centred around arguments with his coaching team.

The triple-jump star still clearly has a lingering animosity towards sporting chiefs as he hit out at the lack of funding he has received while preparing for the Olympics. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 live, he said: "I am not lottery funded. I have not been lottery funded for at least three years. I pay for my own medical, I pay for my own physio and I will pay for my own surgery.”

He added: “There is no association between me and UK Athletics Association. If you can find a form that I have signed that says I received money from UKAA then hold me accountable but over the last three years I have been out there and won world titles, world silver medals, Olympic silver medals and I have done that out of my own pocket."

But he ruled out any suggestion that he might retire. "Definitely I am going to carry on competing," he said. "I don't think you've seen the best of me yet. Regardless of my achievements at these Games I was never going to finish here."

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit