Athletics: Chambers expects 100m champion to run under 10 seconds

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The Independent Online
DWAIN CHAMBERS yesterday predicted the first sub-10 second 100 metres in Britain as he looked forward to today's final in the CJU World Trials and AAA Championships.

After winning his heat with disdainful ease in 10.57sec, the 21-year- old Londoner was optimistic that he could run below 10 seconds today, spurred on by Britain's other leading young sprinters, Jason Gardener and Darren Campbell. "Definitely," Chambers responded. "If the weather's good."

Chambers, who became only the second European after Linford Christie to run sub-10 with his 9.99sec timing in June, was relaxed as he answered questions and signed autographs.

Gardener, in contrast, politely declined all interviews and autographs after setting the fastest time of 10.32, which he achieved without appearing to move out of third gear. His behaviour indicated the seriousness with which he is approaching the trials - the memories of last year, when he finished one position outside the qualifying places, remains a painful memory.

Ian Mackie, who won his heat in 10.40, also has unhappy memories of the trials. Last year, warming up for his 100 metres heat, the only Briton to have beaten Linford Christie twice over 100m in recent years pulled up with the hamstring injury which ruined his season.

This year he has made a gradual recovery, taking the Scottish title last month in 10.49. "Since I won the AAA title in '97 nothing has gone right for me," Mackie said. "But the pressure's off at the moment and I'm coming into shape at the right time. Nobody's watching me."

The defending champion, Campbell, also qualified easily in 10.38. He will be joined in today's semi-finals by Jason Livingston, the 1992 world 60m champion who recorded 10.50.

In the women's 100m all the leading contenders came through - Shani Anderson and Christine Bloomfield both recorded 11.53sec, while Joice Maduaka won in 11.36. Maduaka's run gives hope that she could lower her best of 11.24 today and move closer to the 18-year-old British record of 11.10 held by Birmingham's own Kathy Cook.

All the leading contenders for the men's 400m progressed, with Jamie Baulch recording the fastest time of 47.02sec ahead of Mark Hilton. Solomon Wariso won his heat in 47.07 and Mark Richardson strolled through to 47.64.

n Diane Modahl could still run in the World Championships despite her withdrawal through illness from the trials, UK Athletics' chief executive, David Moorcroft, insisted yesterday.

Moorcroft said: "The first two people in the trials, provided they have a qualifying time, are guaranteed selection. The selectors can then choose a third person, and the special thing for Diane is that she has a qualifying time."