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Chambers storms to 100m victory

12 July 2008

Controversial sprinter Dwain Chambers powered to victory in the 100m at the British Olympic trials to move a step closer to securing a place in Beijing.

The 30-year-old, who is seeking a High Court injunction next Wednesday to lift his lifetime Olympic ban for drug offences, won in 10.00 seconds.

Chambers needed to finish in the top two to have any chance of selection.

He finished ahead of second-placed Simeon Williamson, 22, who secured his Olympic place with a time of 10.03.

UK Athletics selectors will decide who takes Britain's third 100m place at Beijing and that is is likely to go to either Craig Pickering or Tyrone Edgar.

Pickering finished third here in 10.19 while Edgar was fourth in 10.22 but Marlon Devonish, who won 100m relay gold in Athens in 2004, finished seventh in 10.28.

UK Athletics reveals its Olympic squad on Monday but may delay naming its 100m team until after the High Court ruling.

Chambers, who had received a mixed reaction from the crowd ahead of the race, was left trailing at the start by Williamson but produced a strong finish.

"That was hard work," Chambers said. "But I am glad I have done my part of things and hopefully things will go well next week.

"It has been tough but before the start I just tried to keep my head clear - my biggest fear was messing things up.

"When Simeon went away so well I just had to keep cool and I am so happy to have won."

Williamson, whose time was a lifetime best, was delighted to have made the British squad.

"It is great that I will be there competing," the Highgate Harrier said. "There was a lot of pressure here - this was not just a backstreet meet, it was the Olympic trials."

But Pickering will have to wait to discover if he will make it to China, and he made it clear he does not think Chambers should be in the team.

"I respect Dwain as an athlete - he is an amazing athlete," Pickering explained. "But he has done bad things in the past. I think the rule (that stops him going) existed prior to that and I think it should exist."

Chambers, who breezed through his heats and semi-final, had already achieved the Olympic qualifying standard of 10.21 seconds and rose to the top of the British rankings when he clocked 10.05 secs at the end of June.

His success leaves UKA's selectors with a dilemma. Under its selection criteria, athletes who finish inside the top two are eligible for the squad so long as they have also achieved the qualifying mark. But Chambers' lifetime Olympic ban, imposed by the British Olympic Association (BOA) after he tested positive for banned steroid THG, means in theory he cannot be selected.

However, Chambers is seeking a temporary injunction against the BOA by-law at a hearing next Wednesday and if the High Court rule in his favour then UKA may be forced to select him.

"Am I confident of winning my case? I have to be," Chambers added. "That is the only way I think with all the support I have received from the general public.

"I greatly appreciate that and I just want to go and do well for my country.

"It is going to be tough but I will keep my spirits high. I would like to say thank-you to everyone who has supported me through this whole ordeal.

"I said I would put on a good performance and that I wouldn't let people down and hopefully all of that will work in my favour for Beijing this summer."

The Olympic deadline for making squad selections is Sunday 20 July.

Chambers served a two-year ban from athletics after failing a drugs test in 2003.

On his return to the sport, he represented Great Britain at the 2006 European Championships, where he helped the sprint replay squad to 4x100m gold.

After a brief spell playing American football in Europe, Chambers made a second comeback in 2008, winning the 60m trials for the World Indoor Championships.

Despite stating their reluctance to select him, UKA picked Chambers for the event in Valencia, where he won 60m silver.

He then spent a month in rugby league on trial with Castleford before returning to the track in May.

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