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Phillips Idowu leaps to glory but Perri Shakes-Drayton falls short

PUBLISHED: 16:25 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:43 05 October 2010

BERLIN - AUGUST 18:  Phillips Idowu of Great Britain & Northern Ireland sets a personal best distance of 17.73m in the men's Triple Jump Final during day four of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2009 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

BERLIN - AUGUST 18: Phillips Idowu of Great Britain & Northern Ireland sets a personal best distance of 17.73m in the men's Triple Jump Final during day four of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium on August 18, 2009 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

2009 Getty Images

Phillips Idowu has set his sights on Olympic gold in 2012 after ending his long wait for a major title by leaping to World Championship glory in Berlin

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Phillips Idowu has set his sights on Olympic gold in 2012 after ending his long wait for a first major title by leaping to World Championship glory in Berlin.

Idowu produced a personal best of 17.73m in the third round of the triple jump final to beat great rival Nelson Evora of Portugal by 18cm and seal the world crown.

The former Raine's Foundation School star entered last year's Olympics as favourite for the triple jump title, but was forced to settle for silver in Beijing as Evora snatched gold by 5cm.

But the 30-year-old ended his quest for major honours on Tuesday night after finally breaking the personal best he established in 2002 to secure an emotional victory.

Idowu later revealed that he had fought back the tears after Evora failed in his final effort at the title, allowing the British athlete to pass up his fifth-round effort.

"Even if I wanted to continue, I couldn't have taken that last jump. My eyes were full of water," he said.

"It's been a long time coming. Last year was a big disappointment but I came through that. Beijing was done, I had to move forward. I can't sit down and dwell on negativity.

"I've worked hard and knew I had a big jump in me and I'm just grateful it came out at the right time. I've got a new PB and now I've got a World Championship gold medal.

"I didn't think 17.73m was going to be enough. Nelson went 17.54m to start but I just felt, 'I can do that'.

"I came down just a little bit short but after he messed up in the second round I put in a solid second round and thought, 'Just run, you're ready to explode' and it came together. I feel like I had more in reserve."

Now Idowu insists he will not rest on his laurels after becoming the first British male world champion since Jonathan Edwards also won the triple jump in Edmonton in 2001.

Edwards presented the new champion with his gold medal at yesterday's award ceremony and Idowu is determined to emulate the man who still holds the world record by leaping to Olympic gold in three years' time.

He said: "Even with a gold medal now I still believe there's more in there. I still have the dream of being Olympic champion.

"It is a long way away. I've got another couple of years and I've got to defend this title and have to defend my world indoor title next year. There's a lot more to come."

There is also more to come from Perri Shakes-Drayton, who suffered a semi-final exit in Berlin as she attempted to crown a memorable season by reaching the final of the women's 400m hurdles.

The 20-year-old, from Poplar, won the European Under-23 title last month and has improved her personal best time by more than a second this year to 55.26secs.

But Shakes-Drayton failed to hit those heights in her first appearance at a major championships as she finished a disappointing seventh in a high-class semi-final in 57.57secs.

The Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets ace faded rapidly after a positive start and admits that she struggled to overcome a lane-eight draw.

She said: "I tried to go off hard because I went off too slow [in the qualifying heats]. I went off all right, but when I got to the bend my legs were not going anywhere. Maybe it was a mental thing, being out there in lane eight. I've got to work on that."

But former world 110m hurdles champion Colin Jackson insists that Shakes-Drayton remains capable of providing London with a homegrown champion at the 2012 Olympics.

"She's young and she'll get experience from this. Lane eight is the most difficult lane for the 400m hurdles because you never train in lane eight and the hurdles are all in slightly different places," Jackson said.

"But she's very confident and very skilful. There's still a bit of technical work to be done but I think she'll look at these tapes, decide what she needs to do in the winter and continue to improve.

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