UK Athletics backs Phillips Idowu to compete at London 2012


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The Independent Online

Niels de Vos, the UK Athletics chief executive, said yesterday that he expects Phillips Idowu to do "very well" at the London Olympics, even though head coach Charles van Commenee said that he does not know if the triple jumper will be fit.

Van Commenee also said he had considered deselecting the Beijing silver medallist, who has arranged his own medical treatment in London rather than attend the UKA training camp in Portugal, but De Vos feels that would be "a nonsense".

"I think what Charles was saying is actually once someone has been selected, the only thing you can do if you have concerns is to deselect them and clearly it would be a nonsense to deselect someone of Phillips' standing and ability," De Vos said.

"I think that was the point he was making and it perhaps did not come across in the right manner. I am very confident Phillips will be fit. There has been a kind of media furore over this which is a bit of a nonsense. It's manufactured by the media essentially.

"He is a very experienced athlete. He has won Olympic medals, world medals; he is preparing in the best way he sees and I am sure he will be there, and if he is ready, which I believe he will be, I think he will do very well. It's as simple as that."

Idowu has not competed since 1 June and is undergoing treatment on a trapped nerve which is causing problems in his left hip and knee.

His agent said the 33-year-old was "incredibly disappointed and surprised" that the British Olympic Association made public a request to see Idowu's medical records, a request complied with on Thursday.

"I believe they [the BOA] did ask to see them and that's absolutely fine," De Vos added. "Everyone is working together to make sure Phillips does the best he can."

The BOA insisted they had a good working relationship with Idowu, but the former world champion does not speak to Van Commenee since a row over his withdrawal from the European Team Championships last year. Van Commenee claimed that Idowu announced his withdrawal via Twitter, a medium he feels is for "clowns and attention-seekers". Idowu denied that was the case, called Van Commenee a blatant liar and demanded a public apology, which the Dutchman has no intention of making.

Idowu has been promised the full support of the BOA in his bid to gain full fitness. It took almost 60 hours between the BOA announcing on Tuesday morning they were seeking Idowu's medical records, and the confirmation that they had arrived.

But the sting appears to have been taken out of the situation, with the BOA stating: "We have received from the medical professionals working with Phillips Idowu, the information that has been requested with regard to his injury and ongoing treatment. This information will be kept confidential with the Team GB chief medical officer. We will continue to liaise with and support the professionals who are working with Phillips to ensure he has the support he needs in his treatment."

Earlier, the BOA chairman, Lord Moynihan, dismissed talk of a rift with Idowu. The BOA claimed their only agenda was to give Idowu "maximum support".

Idowu will need to be competition-ready by the morning of 7 August, when triple-jump qualifying takes place, with the final scheduled for the evening of 9 August.

The BOA chef de mission, Andy Hunt, said at the Olympic Park: "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."