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Phillips' great leap forward!

PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 October 2010

By Phil Ravitz PHILLIPS Idowu, the former Bethnal Green schoolboy who has become a top triple jumper, propelled himself among the world s elite athletes by winning Britain s only gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, at the weekend. I

By Phil Ravitz

PHILLIPS Idowu, the former Bethnal Green schoolboy who has become a top triple jumper, propelled himself among the world's elite athletes by winning Britain's only gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, at the weekend.

Idowu, from the De Beauvoir area of Hackney, attended De Beauvoir Primary School in Tottenham Road, N1 and Raine's Foundation Secondary School, Bethnal Green before going on to become a famous athlete. He started his athletics career in the borough with Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets AC before switching to the higher profile Belgrave Harriers, in Battersea, south London.

Sunday's triple jump competition at the World Indoor Championships was effectively over from the moment that Idowu landed to register his second jump of 17.75 metres.

That leap was a British indoor record and put him fifth on the all-time list, five places above the previous record-holder Jonathan Edwards, who had held the national record with a jump of 17.64m.

Although he has frequently disappointed in major competitions, Idowu put together a very consistent series of jumps in Valencia to add the World Indoor crown to his Commonwealth title that he won two years ago and the European indoor title he clinched last year, when he beat British teammate Nathan Douglas.

Idowu was behind after the first round of jumps to Cuban Arnie Giralt, who had leaped 17.43 in the first round.

But after his monster effort of 17.75, Idowu kept up the consistency with further leaps of 17.56 and 17.45 to never be headed again.

Ironically, he received his gold medal from his former Great Britain teammate and Britain's former triple-jumping great Jonathan Edwards, who said afterwards: "There is no reason why Phillips can't win the Olympic gold now, in Beijing later this year. He has always had the talent.''

Idowu finished sixth at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where Edwards won gold, but four years later, the Hackney athlete was back in a very disappointing 12th place and only recorded a sixth place at last year's World Championships.

With current Olympic champion Christian Olsson recovering from a hamstring injury, Idowu is being spoken of as favourite for the gold in China, but sensibly defused excitement among the British media.

"There were still quite a few good people who weren't at these championships, who are obviously preparing for the outdoor season. I'd like to stay in the background until its absolutely necessary, but there are many more medals out there I'd like to win. I know it's not done yet.''


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