Chambers and GB stick to the rules with success

It did not take long for the new- fangled rules of the European Team Championships to reduce what was formerly the European Cup to something of a farce yesterday. With three laps gone in the women's 3000m, Natalia Rodriguez of Spain took no notice of the official waving a card in her direction denoting that – as the backmarker in the field she – was obliged to step off the track. She proceeded to win the race, only to be told she was disqualified. "I didn't understand the rules," she said. "I thought the elimination stage was later."

Thankfully for the British athletes in action yesterday in the Estadio Dr Magalhaes Pessoa, there were no such misjudgements. In the Portuguese sporting arena where Jose Mourinho cut his teeth as head coach of Uniao de Leiria, there were a string of British successes – from the emerging Dai Greene in the 400m hurdles, to the resurgent Tim Benjamin in the 400m, and from the surprising Emily Freeman in the women's 100m to the not-so-surprising Dwain Chambers in the men's 100m.

In the shadow of Leiria Castle, the British athlete infamous for attempting to waive the rules showed once again why he has re-established himself as the sprint king of Europe. Chambers finished comfortably clear of the field in 10.07sec, just 0.01sec shy of his season's best but nothing that might cause Usain Bolt any sleepless nights two months from the World Championships in Berlin.

"Not good," was Chambers' frank assessment, having promised much faster outdoor times with his scorching form in the indoor season "But I've just got to try and put everything into the races I'm getting." As well as being reduced to running in what is effectively the B circuit in Europe thanks to a gentlemen's agreement among promoters of the main Euromeetings group not to allow reinstated doping offenders to compete in their events, Chambers is banned from competing for Britain in the Olympic Games. There were reports yesterday of an offer for him to represent an unidentified Middle East country but Chambers said: "It's news to me. I'm just grateful for the opportunities I get like this to run for Great Britain."

It was Greene who got the British team off to a flying start yesterday, maintaining the tradition of 400m hurdles successes in the European Cup set by Alan Pascoe, Kriss Akabusi and Chris Rawlinson. Hampered by injury since winning the European Under-23 title two years ago, the one-time Swansea City youth team footballer announced his arrival as a world class talent in the one lap hurdles a fortnight ago with a 48.62sec in Prague.

The 23-year-old was not so swift yesterday but displayed admirable assurance as he allowed Periklis Iakovakis to lead all the way into the home straight before sweeping past the Greek and emerging a clear winner in 49.26sec. Iakovakis, the reigning European champion and an Olympic finalist in Beijing last summer, was second in 50.09sec. It was a superbly judged effort by Greene, suggesting that he could be a force with which to be reckoned come the World Championships in Berlin in August. "Coming in here, I knew my personal best counted for nothing," he said. "I had the Great Britain vest on my back. There was a lot more pressure on me."

Benjamin was another outstanding one-lap winner for the British team yesterday, in his case without the hurdles. The 27-year-old from Cardiff was on the cusp of a major breakthrough in 2005 after scoring a memorable victory over then reigning Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner at Crystal Palace, reducing his personal best to 44.56sec, and finishing fifth in the World Championship final in Helsinki.

Last year, after a succession of hip and knee problems, he was on the verge of hanging up his spikes when he was hit by chronic fatigue syndrome. "I was so fed up I very nearly walked away from the sport altogether," he confessed. "The only thing that kept me going was knowing I had an innate talent for running, that I was blessed."

He is that. Having been taken under the coaching wing of Linford Christie last winter, Benjamin has been bouncing back in recent weeks, clocking 45.80sec in Turin and 45.51sec in Thessaloniki. Yesterday, like Greene before him, he produced a perfectly judged race, entering the home straight in fourth place but easing past Swede Johan Wissman to claim victory in 45.58sec – his most notable success, perhaps, since his Crystal Palace win against Wariner four years ago.

More surprisingly, there was a British winner in the women's 100m, Freeman prevailing in 11.42sec. There was also a brilliant sub-two minute clocking by Hannah England in the women's 800m, the Oxford woman finishing fourth in 1min 59.94sec. There was a British record too, Kate Dennison clearing 4.55m for fourth place in the pole vault.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?