Triple jumper Phillips Idowu makes 40 minute Olympic cameo

Britain's athletes have a day to regret in the Olympic Stadium

It was casualty time in the unforgiving crucible of London 2012's main arena yesterday morning. Liu Xiang, the fall guy of the Beijing Olympics, smashed the first barrier in his 110m hurdles heat, then hopped down the apron of the track and departed in a wheelchair. Phillips Idowu, the Invisible Man of British athletics, managed a couple of valid hops, steps and jumps but disappeared from the home Olympic stage just 40 minutes after stepping on to it. He did so fearing he would need surgery to put his broken body back together but defiantly vowing to fight another day.

The pity is tomorrow should have been Idowu's day. The Hackney man has been the world's most consistent triple jumper in recent years and an Olympic final next door to his manor would have been a dream opportunity to achieve the gold he missed by just 5cm in Beijing. The trouble is he won't be on the start list, his wing and a prayer mission having come to grief in the qualifying round yesterday.

Idowu needed to jump 17.10m or to finish in the top 12 of the two combined pools, to make the final. It was not to be. In his first competition for nine weeks, the 33-year-old was clearly still constrained by the hamstring-cum-hip-problem that had been the cause of so much intrigue in the countdown to the Games.

With his first effort, the big Belgrave Harrier managed 16.47m. He abandoned his second without making a valid mark.

With his third, he managed to improve to 16.53m but that put him 14th in the pecking order, 11cm short of the cut-off point.

"I've competed for 12 years and I can't remember a time when I've performed that badly," a crestfallen Idowu reflected. "I'm guessing I will need surgery at the end of this season. I'll call it a day and wrap up the season.

"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.

"It hasn't completely sunk in yet. My fourth Olympic Games hasn't gone to plan and now I just have to regroup and prepare for the future."

At 33, that future is unlikely to feature a fifth shot at Olympic gold in Rio in 2016 but – despite the travails of 2012, and the breakdown of his relationship with UK Athletics – Idowu insisted he will not be hanging up his spikes just yet.

"I haven't finished competing," he said. "I don't think you've seen the best of me yet."

There was further British anguish when Andy Pozzi crashed into the second barrier and out of his 110m hurdles heat and when Goldie Sayers, with a strapped and damaged elbow, failed to register a valid mark in the javelin qualifying round. "It's heartbreaking," a tearful Sayers said.

No athlete knows about the heartache of being injured for a home Olympics more than Liu Xiang. The host nation went into mourning when he failed to get down the track in his 110m hurdles heat in Beijing four years ago.

Yesterday he failed to get past the first hurdle, which he demolished in unceremonious fashion. Fenn Shuyong, China's track and field team leader, said that Liu was still suffering from the Achilles injury that struck him in Beijing but stressed: "He is not thinking of retiring."

At least, when the time does come for Liu to move on, he will do so with an Olympic gold. He won one in Athens in 2004, getting his moment of glory in before the ordeal of a home Games.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine