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.

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice