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Phillips Idowu

23 May 2012

Britain’s former World Champion triple jumper Phillips Idowu (Coach: Aston Moore) will take on the man who took his World title last year, Christian Taylor, in a mouth-watering battle at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Saturday 14 July.

Both Idowu and Taylor are leading medal contenders for London 2012, with Idowu already holding an Olympic silver medal to his name from Beijing 2008, as well as World Championships gold in 2009 and European gold in 2010. Taylor, still only 21, became the youngest ever triple jump World Champion last year in Daegu with a phenomenal jump of 17.96m.

Idowu has enjoyed the better start to the 2012 outdoor season, however, winning at the Shanghai Samsung Diamond League meet last Saturday with 17.24m in wet conditions. Taylor finished third with 16.96m.

Unsurprisingly after his strong start to the season, Idowu is feeling confident and believes that jumping in London’s Samsung Diamond League event will provide ideal preparation for his tilt at Olympic gold.

“I’ve got a good winter of quality training under my belt and now I’m aiming for the gold medal. The Aviva London Grand Prix is only three weeks before we jump at the Olympics, so it’s perfect for me to keep sharp and get the support of the home crowd which will give me a taste of things to come in the Olympic stadium.”

With a world-class field set to line up at Crystal Palace, Idowu relishes the opportunity to push himself against the best on home territory.

“I’m looking forward to taking on the best jumpers in the world on July 14th. I’m never one to avoid my main competitors. We have all had some great battles in previous years but if I go out there and execute at Crystal Palace, I’m confident that it will give me a boost towards competing at the Games.”

Having tasted victory at the Aviva London Grand Prix in the past, Idowu understands that success breeds success and intends to produce another crowd-pleasing performance on 14 July.

“Having won the London Grand Prix twice in the past I know how much of a boost it can be in the build up to a major champs.   I would like to put on a great performance before I head out for my final preparations in the lead up to the Games.”

Perhaps Idowu’s chief threat on the day, Christian Taylor has stormed to success at a young age and 2011 proved a breakthrough year for the talented athlete from Georgia, USA, topped off with his first major championships victory when he brought home gold at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.

Earlier that summer Taylor had set the tone for his later success by winning in impressive fashion at the Aviva London Grand Prix in his inaugural appearance at the event. Taylor remembers that winning jump fondly and is looking forward to his return to south London.

“I’ve got nothing but great memories of the Aviva London Grand Prix. Last year was my first time competing in London – in fact it was my first ever trip to Europe – so to have come away with the win against such a strong field was unbelievable. It’s in my nature to feed off the crowd and the energy in the stadium so a sold-out Crystal Palace is the perfect place for someone like me. It’s a great way for me to prepare for the Olympics a few weeks later.”

Despite now being in regular competition with Idowu, Taylor claims that first and foremost he was – and still is – a fan of Britain’s number one triple jumper.

“I’ve watched Phillips ever since I started up in track and field and besides being his rival, I’m also a fan. We went head-to-head all summer last year – he won some, I won some. Fortunately for me I came out on top in the London Grand Prix and then the World Championships in Daegu.  It was nice to beat Phillips in his home town but I know what he’s capable of and I know he’s never to be underestimated. We’re both elite jumpers capable of big distances so it comes down to who steps up on the day and who shows the most heart.”

Taylor is savouring his return to London in July and hopes to take flight across the pit in front of a packed Crystal Palace crowd once again.

“Last year during my first jump in London I felt like I was flying. I hit a near-perfect jump first up and went on to get the victory so if I can recreate that I’ll be happy on July 14th. I’m going to be working for every inch in that pit and if it all comes together on the day then the sky’s the limit.”

Phillips Idowu and Christian Taylor will be in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix on Saturday 14 July.

Back the team and watch over the world’s best athletes in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on 13-14 July.

Buy your tickets today at www.uka.org.uk/tickets or call 08000 55 60 56.