Athletics: Chambers fumes over comeback defeat

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The Independent Online

Dwain Chambers made no apology yesterday for his angry reaction to defeat in the 100 metres at the IAAF Golden Spike SuperGrand Prix meeting in Czech Republic on Thursday night.

The European 100 metres gold medallist, contesting his first race in Europe this summer, was left fuming when beaten across the finishing line by fellow Briton Mark Lewis-Francis and the Commonwealth champion Kim Collins, and made a rapid exit up the tunnel.

"I hate losing any race, that's the top and bottom of it," said Chambers, who had expecting to run much faster than 10.16sec after his preparatory campaign in the United States earlier this year. "But it's still early days, a long way to go to the World Championships."

Lewis-Francis won the race in the Ostrava stadium in 10.07sec, with Collins 0.02sec slower.

John Smith, the world's leading sprint coach whose protégés include the Olympic and world title holder Maurice Greene, defended Chambers' conduct. "I think it is right he does react in that way," Smith said. "Dwain doesn't like losing and if reacting that way is going to help him bounce back quickly - and he has in the past - I don't see it as an attitude problem."

Chambers, who equalled Linford Christie's European record with a time of 9.87sec last year, returns to action today, when he turns out for his club, Belgrave Harriers in a British League meeting. "I need races," Chambers said.

Jason Gardener, who finished seventh in Ostrava, also plans more competitions, travelling to Germany to take on the top sprinters there at an international meeting in Dortmund tomorrow. "I suppose it was wrong to run my first 100 of the year last night," he said yesterday. "Given the quality of the field I would have benefited with a couple under my belt beforehand. I'm sure fast times will come once I've had a few more races."

Denise Lewis, the Olympic heptathlon champion, will compete for the first time in almost two years when she takes part in the 100m hurdles and high jump at a low-key meeting in Brussels today, before throwing the javelin and racing over 200 metres at a club meeting in the Netherlands tomorrow.

Lewis will tackle two other competitive programmes as she aims for the World Championships qualifying standard at the Spar European Cup Combined Events meeting in Tallinn on 5-6 July.

Frank Dick, a former British athletics coach, said: "On successive weekends she will do the 100 metres, high jump and shot followed by the javelin, long jump and 100 hurdles, provided she feels ready."

Katharine Merry, the Olympic 400m bronze medalist, will also return from an absence of nearly two years at the Belgrave Harriers meeting.