Idowu Woe Eased by Devonish Double ; ATHLETICS
Rowbottom, Mike, The Independent (London, England)
Phillips Idowu, described by the former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards as Britain's best hope for a gold medal at next month's World Championships, made a sorry exit from the world trials here yesterday with a dodgy back which leaves his participation at Osaka in doubt. Oh joy. The Commonwealth and European Indoor triple jump champion, who has been suffering with back spasms for the last month, felt something amiss again during his opening effort here - a distance of 15.84 metres that is almost two metres short of his best - and withdrew as a precaution.
"I'm not in panic mode," said Idowu, whose international season got off to a dazzling start last month with victory in the Oslo Golden League meeting over all his main rivals, followed by second place at the European Cup. But he was clearly less than certain of his prospects for the global event, which starts on 25 August.
"Right now I'm trying not to think about it," he said. "I thought it had responded well to rehab. If I am in pain, I don't think I'll go. I'm not going to jump in pain because I'm not going to get what I want to get out there. After the first jump today I really felt it. The whole of the left side of my back seized up."
Idowu's participation in Friday's London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace must also be in severe doubt now. This was just the news UK Athletics did not want to hear at an event from which so many of its leading prospects, such as the European long jump silver medallist Greg Rutherford, the world 400m finalist Tim Benjamin, and the European 100m Under-23 champion Simeon Williamson, had already cried off.
Given that last year's European 800m bronze medallist Becky Lyne is also well short of fitness, and the European Indoor 400m champion Nicola Sanders, despite winning here on Saturday, is carrying knee and Achilles tendon injuries, the UKA performance director Dave Collins could have been forgiven an expression of pained endurance trackside.
There were some things to gladden Collins' heart, however, notably the performance of Britain's leading sprinter of the moment, Marlon Devonish, who held off the challenge of Craig Pickering to win the 100m title on Saturday and made the most of the sunny, if blustery conditions here yesterday to add the 200m title in a time of 20.79 seconds, holding off a determined challenge from the European junior medallists Alex Nelson, who clocked 20. …