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Idowu targets Berlin title bid

PUBLISHED: 12:08 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 05 October 2010

Phillips Idowu insists his Beijing heartache will not stop him from reigning supreme at the World Championships in Berlin later this year

By TOM REYNOLDS in South Africa

Phillips Idowu insists his Beijing heartache will not stop him from reigning supreme at the World Championships in Berlin later this year.

Former Raine's Foundation School pupil Idowu was the red-hot favourite for Olympic gold in August, entering the Bird's Nest as the World Indoor champion and world No1 after a season's best jump of 17.58m - eight centimetres clear of his nearest rival.

But disaster struck in the Far East. Despite hop, skip and jumping his way to a distance of 17.62m, the 30-year-old had to settle for silver as Portugal's out-of-sorts world champion Nelson Evora found his form to top the podium with a distance of 17.67m.

And with the duo set to lock horns at both the European Indoor Championships in March and August's World Championships in Berlin, Idowu is adamant he needs to forget about 2008 - or risk facing a similar outcome at this year's showpiece event.

"Losing out in Beijing was disappointing and it was hard to get over but I've put that out of my mind now and I want to make sure I go well in Berlin," said Idowu, who is currently warm-weather training at an Aviva-funded Team GB camp in South Africa.

"Last year and the Olympics is firmly out of my mind now - 2008 is over and 2009 is what I'm looking at and working towards, so I don't think about what happened in Beijing.

"Obviously it was hugely disappointing and I'm really looking forward to going up against Nelson Evora again this year but I am not going to make it a personal battle.

"The World Championships are obviously my biggest challenge and what my year is built around because I want to win that title.

"But it won't be easy. Every year somebody new steps up to the plate and pushes everyone and becomes a huge contender so I'm sure there will be plenty of other people to worry about in Berlin apart from Nelson."

Despite building his season around claiming a first world outdoor crown, the Commonwealth champion has not ruled out a possible defence of the European Indoor title he won in Birmingham in 2007.

But while a trip to Torino is currently on the cards, Idowu - who cleared the fifth best distance in history to win the World Indoor title last year - conceded he will not compete if it will dent his quest to topple Evora in Germany.

"I am keen to go to the European Indoors because I don't just what to let someone take away my title without a fight," he added.

"To give up the title without pushing someone really hard and being there will be really difficult.

"If it is not the right time for me to jump in Torino then I won't go. It will be really hard to turn down the chance of defending my title but sometimes you have to make those decisions."

l Philips Idowu is a member of the Aviva GB Team and is preparing for the 2009 season at the Aviva UKA Warm Weather Training Camp in South Africa. Find out more at www.ukathletics.net.


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