Idowu and Team GB coach don't get on

Team GB’s coach Charles Van Commenee has admitted he doesn’t have much of a relationship with one of Britain’s main Olympics medal hopes, triple jumper Phillips Idowu.

The charismatic athlete likes to go his own way, and Van Commenee admits that is not a problem if Idowu delivers in London. "It doesn't matter that I don't have a relationship with him," Van Commenee said. "Not at the distance he is jumping. Obviously it's not what you would like with athletes but it is what it is."

The Dutchman has had an unusual duty in recent weeks – asking if his athletes can sing. Certain tabloids have targeted the Michigan-born athletics captain Tiffany Porter and accused her of not knowing the words to the national anthem. Van Commenee has checked with his high-profile athletes to confirm they can offer a credible mime to God Save The Queen.

"They know the words – or they will," Van Commenee said. "I know because I asked the question. I'm not going to rehearse everybody because we have 90 athletes but people that matter – let's say the relevant ones, the ones on your radar. It matters, because if they don't, somebody will make an issue of it," he said.

He took the opportunity to deny that he was the official who described Jessica Ennis as "fat", but realises that part of his job involves quelling rumours and avoiding distractions. "Whether it's fatty athletes, court of arbitration for sport verdicts, Twitter, or opening ceremonies, I know in Olympic year all sorts of rubbish comes up," he said.

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