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Chambers regains top ranking on return to the track

12 June 2006

By David Powell

Dwain Chambers may have been little more than an extra on the set of Asafa Powell’s world record yesterday but, on his comeback from a drugs ban, he re-established himself as Great Britain’s No 1.

Finishing third behind Powell and Michael Frater, two Jamaicans, Chambers recorded 10.07sec, a time that no Briton has run during his absence from the sport.

So far ahead of his fellow Britons was Chambers that he was told by Dave Collins, the national performance director, that the 100 metres place in the team for the European Cup this month is “his if he wants it”.

Chambers had been reported to be training well but, as Powell had said, that was no guarantee of his mental state to perform in a race, especially his first for nearly three years.

Chambers, 28, lost to Powell his stadium record of 10.05sec, which he set in 1999, but he was nevertheless delighted with his run. “I did not expect anything much from this weekend but I proved that I kept my focus through my ups and downs, trained hard, and that I am still capable of running fast,” Chambers said.

Caught for taking THG, a designer steroid, in 2003, Chambers completed a two-year ban last September but his return was delayed until he had agreed terms with the world and British governing bodies for the repayment of his prizemoney.

His performance yesterday, remarkable in itself, was all the more so given the uncertainty he had faced all week over whether he would be cleared to run. Not until Saturday was the paperwork complete yet, come the moment, Chambers was ready. How ironic that he should make his comeback in a world-record race. When Chambers equalled Linford Christie’s European record of 9.87sec in 2002, he did so chasing Tim Montgomery to a world record 9.78sec.

Montgomery has since been banned for doping and Chambers has confessed to earlier offences, in 2002, before testing positive. When he did so, last December, he apologised and he underlined his remorse yesterday.

“I hope that I am accepted back, bearing in mind that what I have done has not been nice,” he said. “My experience taught me a lot and I am hoping that the public will accept my apologies and understand that I am really sorry for what I have put my sport through.”

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