Team GB mystery man Phillips Idowu arrives at Olympic Village


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The Independent Online

The saga of Phillips Idowu's fitness and whereabouts has been fascinating or irritating depending on your point of view, but the so-called “Invisible Man” of British athletics will finally be seen tomorrow.

That is, of course, assuming the Beijing silver medallist turns up for triple jump qualifying at 10:45am in the Olympic Stadium, something which cannot be taken for granted despite his arrival in the athletes' village yesterday.

Idowu claims his arrival was "as planned months ago" and that for the last few weeks he has simply been in his home city of London, finalising his preparation and receiving therapy, easily reachable by the "appropriate people".

In contrast, UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee said last week he was perplexed that Idowu had turned his back on UKA and his own coach Aston Moore, who had only received a brief text before Idowu cut off contact.

Amid such claim and counter-claim it is hard to know what sort of shape Idowu will be in tomorrow, when he will need to jump 17.10m to qualify automatically for Thursday's final.

Usually that would be no problem for the 33-year-old, who won World Championship gold in 2009 having only been denied the Olympic title by five centimetres the year before.

But one of the few indisputable facts in the whole sorry affair is that he has competed just three times in 2012, winning his first two competitions in Holland and Shanghai but then finishing third in Eugene when he completed just three jumps before withdrawing citing concerns over the wet conditions.

Since then he has pulled out of various meetings, most notably the Olympic trials at the last minute and the London Grand Prix just 25 minutes before the triple jump was due to start.

However, even Van Commenee - who has not spoken to Idowu since a row over the latter's withdrawal from last year's European Team Championships - believes Idowu will be a medal contender if the British Olympic Association's verdict on his fitness proves correct and, as the whole saga has shown, anything is possible.