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Chambers harbours athletics dream

15 January 2007

Dwain Chambers says he has not turned his back on athletics, despite pursuing a new career in American Football.

The 28-year-old continued his bid to play professional American Football by taking part in a two-day training camp for NFL Europe last weekend.

He told the BBC Six O'Clock News: "I've got the drive in my heart and believe I can run as fast as I have in the past."

"I've paid my dues and I'd still like to get back to track and field, but am going to work on this now."

Chambers, a former European 100m champion, was given a two-year ban from athletics in February 2004 after testing positive for the banned steroid THG.

He made a startling return to the track by recording 10.07 seconds in the British Grand Prix 100m in Gateshead in June.

But it proved something of a false dawn as he finished only seventh in the individual 100m at the European Championships in Gothenburg, although he did win gold in the relay.

Chambers told the BBC he needed a break from athletics.

"Unfortunately with track, my heart's not in it at the moment," he said.

"It's something I've always loved, but at the moment it's putting a bad taste in my mouth."

"For me to want to come back and be successful in track I have to go away for a while, build up my self esteem again and come back to fighting ways."

"I'm still an athlete at heart, but I'm just going to put my athletic ability into American Football for a while."

"That's why I'm pursuing it. It's a new challenge and it's making me smile, I'm happy."

Chambers, who is trying out as a wide-receiver, is hoping to be one of 80 players invited to an NFL training camp in Tampa, Florida, in March.

This group will then be pruned down to a draft list of 48, who will be eligible for the six NFL Europe teams, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.

"If I make it to Tampa, you can definitely say that I won't be running track at least this year," Chambers said.

"I'm just going to focus on this, have fun here and if it doesn't work then I'll always try again."

The Londoner said he could compete in the World Athletics Championships in August if he fails to make the Tampa training camp.

"If I don't (make it), I'll be preparing for Osaka," he said.

"(But) at the moment I'm not focussing on it. I can't focus on track and try and catch the ball, because I'll get my backside busted."

"If I don't make it, back to Jamaica (where he trains) and back to the drawing board again and working the slog."

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