Athletics: European aim for Chambers

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The Independent Online
DWAIN CHAMBERS, the European silver medallist, has insisted whoever is the country's current fastest 100 metre runner must be chosen to run for Britain in next month's European Cup.

Last June in St Petersburg, like many of his talented young colleagues, Chambers was amazed when the selectors opted for Colin Jackson to contest both the high hurdles and 100m rather than pick a recognised sprinter. Jackson managed only third place in 10.41sec but the men's team surprisingly retained their title ahead of Germany and Russia.

The irony was that Jason Gardener and Darren Campbell ran quicker times in the invitation race held in conjunction with the meeting.

Jackson's inclusion saw Campbell and Chambers miss out on a place after they both deliberately made low key starts to the season on the advice of their coach, Linford Christie, who argued that running fast times in April and May wasn't going to help them capture medals at the European Championships.

The wisdom of Christie, who captained Britain to its first ever European Cup win in 1989, was spot on. Following their inspirational mentor's schedule the pair peaked perfectly and, in Budapest, Campbell, after a thrilling 100m confrontation, edged ahead of his colleague to capture the gold medal.

Chambers is adamant this year's policy should ensure that the quickest man competes in Paris from 19 to 20 June. He said: "Whoever runs fastest beforehand should be picked. Last year was silly. In the end Jason [Gardener] ran faster than Colin [Jackson]. It must not be allowed to happen again."

Certainly Chambers fancies his chances of being chosen when the form of candidates is reviewed in the first week of June before the team is announced. Last week he produced his fastest-ever opener to a season winning in 10.17sec at Loughborough. "I didn't expect to run so fast," he said. "Last year I ran 10.36 in my first race in Qatar, so this is a good sign."

Tomorrow, the 21-year-old competes in Hengelo over 200m and having already brought his personal best down to 20.68sec in the United States a few weeks ago will be keen to reduce it further. Joining Chambers against the leading Europeans will be Julian Golding, another of this country's world-class crop of youngsters.

Paula Radcliffe, after setting a British two miles record at Loughborough, runs over 5,000m for the first time this year. Neil Caddy and David Heath are in the men's two miles field where Haile Gebrselassie will be chasing a 16th world record.