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Dwain fears

16 July 2006

Dwain Chambers' bid to crown his comeback from a two-year drugs ban by claiming the European 100 metres title appeared to be in jeopardy last night after injury forced him out of the Norwich Union trials final in Manchester.

After performing impressively in his two qualifying races, the 28-year-old picked up a quadracep injury which forced him to withdraw from the competition as a precautionary measure.

In his absence, Marlon Devonish claimed victory in 10.19seconds ahead of the up-and-coming prospect Tyrone Edgar (10.23secs) with Mark Lewis-Francis (10.28) third.

The trio all hold the European qualifying mark and, under the strict UK Athletics selection policy, Devonish and Edgar earned automatic selection for the trip to Gothenburg next month.

Now the selectors, who retained the option to nominate the third 100m sprinter, will decide whether to include Lewis-Francis - or instead hand a reprieve to Chambers.

With a world-class time of 10.07 recorded a month ago at Gateshead, Chambers has proved he is in good condition after returning from his drugs suspension, while Lewis-Francis - who produced a disappointing performance at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year - has shown none of the sparkle which was expected after he was crowned world junior champion six years ago.

However, Lewis-Francis remains adamant he should be chosen, with selectors allowed to wait until August 1 before making final nominations.

He said: "Hopefully I will get a place on the plane, I've got two more weeks."

"It's up to the selectors. I came here, raced and did just enough to earn my place."

"I am feeling like the old Mark," added the midlander, who has just recovered from tendinitis. "We'll see how things go." As for Chambers' superb time at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix on Tyneside, Lewis-Francis added: "He's only done it once - he's not done it again.

"I am not going to stand here and bad-mouth Dwain. He came back and did what he had to do. But I think I've done just enough to get on the team."

Elsewhere, the best performance came in the long jump where Greg Rutherford moved into joint second place on the UK all-time list but missed Gateshead-based Chris Tomlinson's national record by a centimetre.

The 19-year-old European junior champion cleared 8.26m with his last attempt.

Rutherford said: "I have been jumping well all year - over 8.30m in training and it's a shame it's only one centimetre short of the British record."

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