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Bath Bullet on target for title

26 May 2006
www.gazettelive.co.uk

Jason Gardener has set his sights on claiming the 100 metres title at the European Championships in Gothenburg in August as he seeks to make up for his disappointment at the Commonwealth Games.

The "Bath Bullet" failed to make an impression in Melbourne because of injury but he is gearing himself up to succeed Dwain Chambers as the European champion.

Gardener, the British number one for the last two years, said: "I said even before the Commonwealths my major aim this year would be winning in Gothenburg."

"My training's going really well and I'll start my season by competing in Oslo and then Belgrade before appearing at Gateshead."

The 30-year-old will face Commonwealth champion and joint world record holder Asafa Powell at both the Bislett Games on June 2 and the Norwich Union British Grand Prix nine days later.

Gardener, who plans to race in Belgrade on June 7, will also face Justin Gatlin who equalled the Jamaican's world record a fortnight ago in Doha.

He insisted: "Everything, and remember I said even before going to Melbourne, is geared to be in the best possible shape for the Europeans."

"It's a title I have always wanted to win and believe, even though I am still getting a little trouble with my back, a victory I can achieve."

"Of course it will be great to race the world's two fastest men, but I have to stress, I will only be using the race like several others at overseas meetings, as preparation."

"That is the big one for me," added Gardener, who is still receiving "maintenance" on the back injury which saw him eliminated in the qualifying rounds at the Commonwealth Games.

Gardener is unconcerned Chambers could possibly make his comeback after a drugs suspension at Gateshead.

Chambers, joint holder of the British 100m record with Linford Christie with a time of 9.87 seconds, might be allowed to make his return if he settles his financial problems with the International Association of Athletics Federations.

However before that is allowed, the IAAF are insisting he pays back some of the six-figure prize money he won at their meetings using the banned substance THG, to assist his performances.

"If he resolves the dispute, why shouldn't he?"

"But with two guys who have broken the world record in the field that might overshadow their appearances at Gateshead," said Gardener.

The Bath-based athlete is one of only three Britons to run under 10 seconds for 100 metres although Christie and Chambers both received drug bans during their careers.

Fast Track, the meeting organisers, stressed no offer has been made for Chambers to run at Gateshead and, even if he resolved his problems, he would have to prove himself fit enough to be given a starting lane.



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Gardener, the British number one for the last two years, said: "I said even before the Commonwealths my major aim this year would be winning in Gothenburg."
"My training's going really well and I'll start my season by competing in Oslo and then Belgrade before appearing at Gateshead."" target="digg"> Digg



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