Athletics: Chambers wrestles with pain of failure

Dwain Chambers stepped out of the lobby of his hotel in Bercy here yesterday afternoon, clad in a brilliant white tracksuit. The sun shone from a clear blue sky, its warmth mitigated by a breeze, and the 25-year-old Londoner was off to do some shopping. He couldn't have been more wretched.

Chambers had still not seen a replay of his defeat in the previous night's World Championship 100 metres final - "I will at some point. No time soon" - but in his mind, the race was running over and over, along with the accompanying stats. Fourth. 10.08 seconds. Fourth. 10.08 seconds.

"It's a bad dream," said the man who holds the joint European record at 9.87sec, although after a sleepless night it was probably more accurate to describe it as a waking nightmare.

Having made a gradual but impressive return from injury this season, all had seemed set for the European champion to take the one final step up to global success. "This is the most important time of my life," he had said beforehand. "It's going to be make or break." The task for Chambers now is to decide which of those two options apply.

Yesterday he was still clearly stunned by his failure to capitalise upon an occasion that, in retrospect, appeared ideally suited for him to achieve his hugely desired breakthrough.

Maurice Greene, the defending champion, had not even made the final, and the other two US runners, the world record holder Tim Montgomery and the trials winner Bernard Williams, could only manage fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Just 0.01sec separated him from the winner, Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis. A blink of time. But it might as well have been an hour.

Losing out on the bronze to his fellow Briton Darren Campbell, who was given the same time, did not compound his disappointment, because for Chambers the only relevant position was first.

In defeat, he had fled the scene thunder-faced and without comment. After his torments at the Commonwealth Games last season, when he broke down in a final he was expected to win, there was a sinking sense of déjà vu.

"I was thinking, 'Not again. This can't happen to me. I've failed again and I don't know why,'" Chambers reflected, tears beginning to well up.

"I had it there. It was there for the taking. That's why it's so difficult... I ran the final with the intention of accelerating hard. But I got to a certain part of the race when I had no more.

"I wasn't in control during the final. I felt like I was fighting all the way from the gun to the tape, and that's the wrong frame of mind to be in. I don't know what happened. It just wasn't my time."

The question of when it will be his time is something that will occupy both Chambers and his coach, Remy Korchemny, in the coming weeks and months as the Olympics draws ever closer.

And the fact that there is now another bright young contender in the frame, in the form of Trinidad's 18-year-old silver medallist Darrel Brown, can hardly have lifted his tormented spirits.

Chambers denies that he crumbled under pressure, pointing out that he came back to win the European Championships as favourite just a fortnight after his Commonwealth débâcle. But he remained at a loss to explain his disappointing performance. "Maybe my own personal expectations were too high," he mused. "Maybe I tried to hard."

Tomorrow is a new day for the British No 1. The sun will still be shining. But he still won't be world champion...

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Recruitment Resourcer

£18000 - £22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Recruitment Resour...

2nd line support - Derbyshire - 6 months

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: 2nd line support - Derbyshire - 6 months...

Sharepoint Technical Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is a dynamic, fast-growing, fa...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried