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Athletics: Golden boy Phillips Idowu is after the clean sweep

Great Britain's Phillips Idowu is already targeting the one gold medal missing from his collection after claiming the European title with a superb performance in Barcelona.

Idowu set a new personal best of 17.81 metres in the triple jump final to beat Romania's Marian Oprea and France's Teddy Tamgho to the title on a rain-swept night in the Olympic Stadium.

The 31-year-old is now the reigning World, European and Commonwealth champion, with Portugal's Nelson Evora only denying him the Olympic title in Beijing in 2008 by five centimetres.

And the Londoner admitted the Olympics in his home city in 2012 are now foremost in his mind.

“There's one more medal in my career I need to win and that's in a couple of years' time,” he said. “I just want to get home to my babies and my family.

“I came here to win the medal, I won the medal and now I want to go home and celebrate and look forward to the end of the season and preparation towards 2012.”

A bold tactical decision had earlier helped Britain's Martyn Bernard to a bronze medal in the high jump. Despite the final starting in heavy rain, Bernard passed the opening height of 2.19 metres and almost paid the price with two failures before clearing 2.23m.

After a first-time failure at 2.26m, the 25-year-old from Wakefield then gambled again by passing at that height and moving up to 2.29m, which he cleared for a season's best at the first attempt.

That put the 2006 Common wealth silver medallist in the gold medal position, a position he held until Russian duo Ivan Ukhov and Aleksander Shustov cleared 2.31m at their second and third attempts respectively.

Bernard was unable to follow suit as Shustov took gold by clearing 2.33m.

l Paul Hession scraped into the European Championship 200metres final as a fastest loser.

The 27-year-old, who had looked very comfortable in the first round, could only finish fourth in his semi-final in 20.67seconds.

But that still proved quick enough to see him through, and Hession said: “I felt good warming up, we had torrential rain which didn't help but it's the same for everybody so that's no excuse.

“If my last 50m was better then I would have been third, but it's fine, at least I qualified.”

Hession, who has a best this season of 20.46secs, was handed lane two for the final tonight.

“I ran an Irish record from lane two,” he added.

Alistair Cragg made it into the 5000m final as another fastest loser. Cragg finished sixth in his heat, comfortably the faster of the two, in 13minutes 37.66s.

Steven Colvert could not make it past round one in the 200m, while Mark Christie in the first round of the 5000m, Ailis McSweeney in the 100m semi-finals and David McCarthy in the 800m semi-finals also all failed to progress.

Belfast Telegraph