Birmingham date for world champion Idowu

By on 12/05/2011 in News

World and European triple jump gold medallist Phillips Idowu has confirmed he will compete at both the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix and Aviva London Grand Prix this summer, as he prepares to defend his World Championship title in Daegu in September.

Birmingham-based Idowu will first compete at the city's Alexander Stadium on 10 July, before heading back to hometown London on 5-6 August for the trip to the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

For the first time ever, both meets are part of the prestigious Samsung Diamond League and Idowu joins an already star-studded line up consisting of the likes of Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Carmelita Jeter, who have already committed to both dates.

The Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix is the first ever outdoor grand prix to be held in the West Midlands and having already experienced the atmosphere once in the city this year already - at the Aviva Grand Prix at the NIA in February - Idowu is desperate to experience the raucous outdoor crowd at the newly-refurbished Alexander Stadium.

And the 32-year-old will return to  the stadium later in July, when he competes at the Aviva UK Trials and Championships, hoping to secure his place in the squad for the World Championships and secure a sixth national championship there.

Idowu said: “Everyone knows I love Birmingham, but I'm still a London boy at heart so to be able to compete at both the meets, in two cities that are important to me, is special.

“London is used to having a world-class Grand Prix every year and whilst Birmingham is world-class indoors, this is the first time they'll get to see massive international names competing outdoors in the city.

“I got a great reception at the NIA in February, every time my name was mention the crowd roared, it was an unbelievable atmosphere which will hopefully be even louder at the Alexander Stadium.

“Gateshead was a great competition for me last year and was successful in part of my preparations for the Euros, so I'm looking to do the same with London and Birmingham this year, ahead of the Worlds. It would be nice to have big jumps in both Birmingham and Crystal Palace.”

In addition to his World title, Idowu also holds the European title and has for many years been the face of triple jump continuing GB success in the event since the retirement of his British predecessor and world record holder Jonathan Edwards.

And it is Edwards who currently holds the venue record at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium with 17.59m, just 1cm further than Idowu's stadium best of 17.58m.

But the emergence of French starlet Teddy Tamgho appears to have signalled a new era in triple jump competition. The 21-year-old Parisian lived up to his considerable hype by winning gold at the European Indoor Championships in his hometown in March - a title previously won by Idowu in 2007 - setting a new world record of 17.92m in the process.

But Idowu is refusing to worry about his young rival and instead has his eyes set firmly on gold, first in Daegu this year and then in London next summer.

He added: “Teddy has continued to raise the bar; he was unbelievable in Paris, especially dealing with the pressure of being the home favourite. It'll be interesting to see what he does in Doha but I don't get too obsessed with checking out the competition or worrying about it.

“He's a talented young jumper and I'm always pleased to see him do well, but he's doing his own thing and I'm doing mine. I respect him as a jumper but I'm still aiming for gold.”

Follow this link to buy tickets to see Phillips in action

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