As if Phillips Idowu did not already have enough on his pre-Olympic plate – what with his battle to gain fitness in time for the Games and his long-running spat with Charles van Commenee – the troubled triple jumper now finds himself at odds with the British Olympics Association. As the saga of the East Ender's fitness rumbled on yesterday, his agent, Jonathan Marks, said that Idowu was "incredibly disappointed" after the BOA made public a request to see his medical records.
The demand was made after it was announced on Monday that Idowu would stay in London to have private treatment for a hip problem rather than go to Portugal to attend the British track and field team's holding camp at Monte Gordo. "He's incredibly disappointed and surprised as to why the BOA has chosen to do this," Marks said. "I can't understand the benefit to the athlete. We are more than happy to send the BOA the medical records. Our office has even had a call from a member of the BOA medical team who has also expressed surprise at the organisation's decision to go public with the request. Phillips is an athlete who's proven that if he gets to the start line then he is one of those athletes who can win a medal."
Idowu, who took the silver medal in his event at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, has not competed since 2 June and missed the London Grand Prix meeting at Crystal Palace the weekend before last after aggravating a hip problem in the warm up. Speaking to the Evening Standard yesterday, the 33-year-old Londoner insisted: "I'm fine, I'm OK. Things are being blown out of proportion. The season's goal is still the same – to come away with the Olympic gold medal. That's what I've been looking for since the heartbreak of Beijing.
"I made the decision to stay in the UK for another week just so I can work with the physio. We're trying to get the nerve along the hip and back just to loosen."
BOA spokesman Darryl Seibel said: "Our chief medical officer, Dr Ian McCurdie, wrote to Phillips and his agent yesterday asking that he provide the relevant medical records relating to his injury and the treatment he is currently receiving. Those should be provided to our chief medical officer on a confidential basis.
"The basis for doing this is a clause in our team members' agreement that says athletes are required to provide details of any injury or illness that may impact on their performance during the Games."
Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt added: "The situation is he hasn't gone to the preparation camp in Portugal. Our chief medical officer has written to him and after we have heard back we can make a decision. Let's understand the nature of the injury first. There's no decision to be taken yet."
Any decision to withdraw Idowu from the team before the Games would be a pointless exercise. No other British athlete has achieved either the A standard (17.20m) or B standard (16.85m) Olympic qualifying distance this year.
Idowu jumped 17.31m at Hengelo in the Netherlands in May. The next best British triple jumper in 2012 is Nathan Douglas, but he has jumped only 16.46m and is injured in any case. Idowu has until Tuesday week, 7 August, to get ready for the qualifying round of his event and the chances are that he will attempt to jump unless his problem significantly worsens.
"Even if the build-up to the Games hasn't been what I wanted, I'll always come out and jump a season's best," Idowu added. "I'll do everything I can to make sure I'm pain-free for the competition so that I can jump to the best of my abilities. That's the plan.
"Before Crystal Palace I jarred my hip slightly doing a weights session so that was a bit irritated, but going into Crystal Palace I was in really good shape."
Warming up at Crystal Palace, Idowu trapped a nerve running from his hip to his knee. He insists he is still able to train fully but needs constant physiotherapy to prevent the problem from flaring up.
"I know I've been low key but this is a niggly issue I have to deal with," Idowu said. "It's not a big one. I'm training fully with it. My shape is physically the best it's ever been.
"My power is there, my speed is there and I'm jumping well. Within a couple of days I'm confident we can loosen out the nerve and carry on with the plan. It's about ticking the boxes. I've jumped in pain and with injuries in the past – in triple jump that's just part and parcel of the sport."