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'Missing' British Olympian surfaces via Twitter, says he'll be in athletes' village Sunday


LONDON – The mysterious case of "missing" Great Britain medal hopeful Phillips Idowu was solved on Saturday when the triple jumper's equipment was delivered to the athletes' village and he made contact with team officials for the first time in two weeks.

Idowu sparked confusion and concern among the GB track-and-field squad and the British public when he apparently disappeared earlier this week, with his coach, agent, and the head of U.K. Athletics claiming they had no idea where he was.

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Rumors were that Idowu was either training or receiving treatment overseas in a bid to escape the pressure of being one of the host nation's best medal chances on the track. As it turns out, he was in London itself, undertaking final preparations at a secret location believed to be in the west of the city.

Idowu grew up in the east of London, less than two miles from the Olympic Park, and still conducts most of his training in the area.

Speculation about his location initially ended when it emerged that he had notified officials at the village that he planned to check in on Sunday and would have some of his gear sent there ahead of time.

Idowu then tweeted a message that seemed to dispel any notion that he may not turn up for his event, which is set to start on Tuesday, with the final on Thursday.

"I'm in London, where I have been for the last few [weeks], finalizing my prep and receiving therapy," said the Beijing silver medalist. "My coach knew about this, and it has not been a secret. I have to give notification of my whereabouts every day for doping purposes, so impossible to completely disappear.

"The appropriate people can contact me with ease. There is no story here at all. I've only heard about the hysteria about my whereabouts today as I've been on a media lockdown. I'm into the Village on Sunday as was planned months ago."

Idowu's agent, Jonathan Marks, merely referred reporters to Idowu's tweet when asked for comment.

Team head coach Charles van Commenee, whose feud with Idowu is so serious the two have not spoken for 18 months, could not be reached for comment.

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Idowu's tweet about his "coach" is understood to refer to his personal trainer, Aston Moore. However, GB team officials insisted a few days ago that Moore was one of the people that did not know of the athlete's whereabouts. Moore also could not be reached for comment.

The British media have been scathing about Idowu's recent conduct. Many believing his disappearing act was merely a way to snub the team chiefs, with whom he is at loggerheads.

There is a special irony about the 33-year-old using Twitter to release his message on Saturday. Van Commenee was furious when Idowu pulled out of the last European Athletics Championships and revealed the news via the social-networking site instead of telling the national team coaches.

"Idowu is … disgraceful," said the Daily Telegraph. "His behavior offends against the Olympic spirit just as much as that of those badminton players who threw their matches."

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