Dwain Chambers, out of the sport since 2003 after a positive dope test, is still negotiating to make a return to action in Sunday's Norwich Union Grand Prix at Gateshead. But the latest bout of intensive discussion between the sprinter's representatives and the International Association of Athletics Federations was heading for further frustration yesterday.
The 28-year-old sprinter, who completed a two-year doping ban in September, has since been embroiled in a dispute over prize-money earned before the period for which he was punished following his admission that he was taking steroids as far back as 2002.
Chambers has been attempting to negotiate a schedule for repayment to the IAAF and UK Athletics, to each of whom he owes around £50,000.
On Tuesday, Jon Ridgeon, head of athletics for British meeting promoters Fast Track, estimated the odds of Chambers competing in a 100 metres event that includes the co-world record holder Asafa Powell as 50-50. The odds are still in the balance following the latest round of talks as Chambers seeks to establish an acceptable down payment before making good his debt on a pay-as-he-runs basis.
Chambers has recently returned from training in Jamaica, where he has been working alongside the former world champion Kim Collins and, on occasions, Powell. The Jamaican world record holder said earlier this week that Chambers was looking "in good shape" on the track, although he added, with necessary caution, that looking good in training and actually running fast are very different things.