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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Phillips Idowu keen to impress at Birmingham Grand Prix

 Phillips Idowu

Idowu won European Championship gold last July

Britain's Phillips Idowu hopes a strong display at the Grand Prix in Birmingham on 19 February will justify him missing the European Indoor Championships.

The 32-year-old world and European champion triple jumper decided not to compete in the Paris event in March.

But in Birmingham a battle awaits with old rival Christian Olsson of Sweden.

"Making the decision that I wasn't going to France meant in the few events I am allowed to do, I want to put on a good performance," he said.

Idowu, who also previously held the Commonwealth crown as well as the world and European indoor titles, has not got a good record against Olsson, beating him only twice in 25 attempts.

But now based in the Midlands, Londoner Idowu is confident his detailed preparation will prove successful as the major events draw closer, the World Championships in South Korea in August and the London Olympics in 2012.

"Basing myself up here and being able to get that 100% attention has definitely helped my performance and my results over the past couple of years have shown that," he said.

"The Grand Prix is in front of my home crowd and that's always a great feeling.

I'm concentrating on defending my world title but we're also in the two-year plan towards the Olympics

Phillips Idowu

"It's good as it will give me the chance to go out and straight away test myself against the best jumpers in the world and hopefully open up with a great distance.

"The next 18 months are in preparation for the Olympic games.

"Before I started training this winter, everything was about the next coming goal, so it would have been Olympics in 2008, then World Championships, then Europeans.

"Now, I'm concentrating on defending my world title but we're also in the two-year plan towards the Olympics.

"We're doing all we can now for that, all the way through the World Championships to ensure that the Olympic Games is the one we get right.

"I want to go to Brazil [Rio 2016], if things go to plan and if I manage to upgrade my silver medal to a gold then I would like to be competing in Brazil defending that Olympic title."

Sweden's Olsson won his first World Indoor title at Birmingham in 2003 but has missed the majority of the last three years through injury after collapsing in training prior to the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.

Now fully fit, the 30-year-old, who has an Olympic gold, a World Championship gold, plus two World and European Indoor titles on his CV, believes the Grand Prix is an important part of his plans for the future.

"It will be really important for my preparation. There's always a strong field which is the ideal way to find out where you are before you head to a major championship.

"It was good to be back and competing again last year, and staying relatively healthy throughout the season, indoors especially.

"Phillips is a great competitor. We have enjoyed a good rivalry over the years and now it's funny because it feels like we are the older guys in the sport."

see also
Meadows excited to begin season
04 Jan 11 |  Athletics
English trio out of Commonwealths
22 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Idowu wins Euro triple jump gold
29 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Idowu wins Britain's second gold
18 Aug 09 |  Athletics

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