Chambers' last-minute call to Greece

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The Independent Online

Dwain Chambers will open his European season earlier than expected when he competes at the Papaflessia international meeting in Kalamata, Greece, today.

Chambers, who had been due to make his first outing of the season in Germany next week, had no hesitation in accepting an invitation to defend his 100m title at the meeting where he won last year in a time of 10.26seconds then finished runner-up over 200m in 21.07secs. The 31-year-old sprinter is banned from more than 50 events organised by the Euromeetings consortium, which refuses to allow former drug cheats into its events but he is putting together a testing schedule before this summer's World Championships.

Chambers, who tested positive for the steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) in 2003 and served a two-year suspension, is due to undertake four races before the British trials for the championships from 10-12 July in Birmingham.

Next Tuesday, he will be in action over 100m and 200m at a meeting in Dessau followed by outings in Montreuil and Uden on 11 and 27June.

The European Indoor champion has also been accepted for a meeting in Reims on 14 July, which is not part of the Euromeetings syndicate.

The Londoner's fortunes have altered rapidly in the last few days after an expected invitation to the opening IAAF Golden League event of the season in Berlin on 14 June was withdrawn.

Organiser Gerhard Janetzky had originally said Chambers would be welcome to compete in the Olympic stadium, where the World Championships will be held in August, but had a change of mind and announced he did not want to be out of step with Europe's other leading meetings.

Chambers, just back from a warm weather camp in America, said: "I had a feeling that would happen. Never mind, I will run elsewhere. Training in the States went well and I will be ready for the World Championships."

He is also keen to compete for the Aviva GB side at the European Team Championships in Leira, Portugal, on 20-21 June although he is uncertain whether UK Athletics will wish to make use of his services.

"[The] European Cup is on the books, we will wait and see what happens with team selection," added Chambers who, although banned for life from future Olympic Games, is eligible to represent his country at other major events.

However, UKA may prefer to groom and increase the experience of a younger sprinter.