UK & World News
Triple Jumper Phillips Idowu Banned From Driving
Former Olympic triple jumper Phillips Idowu has been banned from driving for two years after getting behind the wheel while drunk.
The 34-year-old, from Epping in Essex, pleaded guilty to driving his white Land Rover in the town's Bridge Hill while two and a half times over the legal alcohol limit.
Chelmsford magistrates also ordered him to do 50 hours of community service following the incident at about 9.30am on September 20.
His solicitor, Joe Life, told the court he had been out with friends the previous night and had returned home to sleep, but was forced to leave.
Ms Life said: "He just got in the car because circumstances forced him to leave the house in a hurry and he was driving a short distance."
Declining to go into detail, she added: "He planned to stay at hotel which was under a mile away to get away from the circumstances which had unfolded at the house."
Ms Life said Idowu had co-operated with police and regularly helps charities and schools.
Described as "unemployed", Idowu has no income and is currently living off savings, the court heard.
He had asked to be fined rather than given community service as he had a work opportunity abroad starting next month.
Magistrate Jeremy Bachelor ignored the request, however, ordering him to complete the unpaid work within the next 12 months.
As well as the driving ban Idowu was also fined £145 and ordered to pay £85 costs.
Idowu won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and World Championship gold in Berlin the following year.
He was tipped for gold at last year's London Olympics but suffered a leg and hip injury and failed to make the final.
Idowu has stopped short of retiring from track and field competition but has announced he is taking a break from athletics "for the foreseeable future".