Last Updated: July 26, 2012 8:10am
van Commenee disappointed by Idowu
UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee believes Britain can still achieve their target of eight medals at the London Olympics - even if former world champion Phillips Idowu is ruled out.
A fully-fit Idowu would be a gold-medal candidate in the triple jump, but the 33-year-old has not competed since June 1 and opted to remain in London to receive treatment on a hip injury rather than attend Team GB's training camp in Portugal.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) have requested to see Idowu's medical records and could ask the Londoner to undergo a fitness test before triple jump qualifying on August 7.
But even if Idowu is ruled out or competes when not 100 percent, Van Commenee feels the target of eight medals, with at least one of them gold, can still be achieved.
"I always knew we would not have all the medal contenders fit on the start line, it's impossible," Van Commenee said. "But we have 15 athletes in the medal zone so our success is not dependent on one athlete.
"We still have a good number of athletes so we have a realistic chance to hit the target."
Van Commenee admits he has a mixture of "sympathy and frustration" when it comes to Idowu; expressing surprise that the Beijing silver medallist would not join his coach Aston Moore in Portugal and make use of UKA's medical staff, but sympathising with an athlete being injured so close to a home Games.
"I feel frustrated because he's not here in what I think is the best possible place and I feel sympathy because he is not in the best possible place - he is in a difficult position," added the Dutchman, who does not speak to Idowu following a row over the latter's withdrawal from the European Team Championships last year.
"You don't want any athlete to be in trouble the last months before the Games, and certainly not a strong contender like Phillips."
However, although that sympathy means Van Commenee opted not to withdraw Idowu from the Games, the 54-year-old admitted that athletes who have not fully bought into his methods were "undermining" the way the sport was run.
"I decided to have sympathy and to give Phillips the chance to win," he added. "It's a difficult one because it's undermining how the sport should be run and proper governance. Whether it undermines me is a question it's up to other athletes to answer. I don't feel my position has been undermined, but I could understand if people look at it that way.
"We have had a huge improvement over the last few years in how we run the sport. Bar one athlete, everybody is here (in Portugal) and happy to be here. We've a much better injury rate than ever before. We went from 24 percent to 12 percent, basically because we run the sport with more discipline, more professionalism and better accountability.
"But we are in transition still. We have still a couple of older athletes who still struggle to buy into it 100 percent. I'm sure in two or three years' time we'll run it as smooth as rowing or cycling, but you can't change that culture in two days."
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