Chambers replies to critics with comeback home victory

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The Independent Online

Dwain Chambers followed up his midweek victory in Greece by yesterday winning his first 100m on home soil for two years – and then defended himself against criticism from former team-mate Jason Gardener.

The 30-year-old sprinter, who is expected to launch a High Court appeal this week against the British Olympic Association's bylaw which bans serious doping offenders from competing in future Games, maintained after clocking 10.28sec for Belgrave Harriers in the British League meeting at Birmingham that he felt his rivals had welcomed him back into the sport since his doping ban.

If that is so, then Gardener, who retired from athletics this year having earned world and European indoor titles and an Olympic gold from the 2004 sprint relay, is bucking the trend. In a Sunday Telegraph column, he wrote: "It's a funny old world, isn't it? We now have disgraced athletes like Chambers... who have damaged what was a great sport, taking legal action as soon as they feel unfairly treated.

"Let us not forget that the real victims are the athletes who abide by rules and work hard. It is these athletes who need legal protection, and not the other way round."

Chambers, whose midweek time of 10.25sec in Greece had already earned him the qualifying mark for next month's Olympic trials, responded: "He's been talking the same stuff for years so it's old news now. I made a mistake.

"I want to prove that you can do it the right way – and I'll prove it with what I do this summer. I've got talent. I've proven that I can come back into the sport after almost three years out and still be number one."

Chambers, who will have to try again to achieve the Olympic A qualifying mark of 10.21sec, also revealed that the best time he ran without taking drugs was 9.97sec in 2000.

He said: "Once I was on the programme I ran 9.87 but it was something I could have done clean anyway. '

Even assuming he can gain entry to the Games through the courts, Chambers still has three faster domestic rivals to contend with at the moment – Tyrone Edgar, who has run 10.06sec, Marlon Devonish, who clocked 10.08sec in Oslo on Friday, and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, who has recorded 10.18sec. Craig Pickering, another likely contender, ran 10.38sec in Turin on Saturday.

Meanwhile Phillips Idowu, who won the world indoor triple jump title in March, established himself at the top of world rankings on Saturday with an effort of 17.55m in Chania, Greece, five centimetres further than the mark set by Cuba's David Giralt.

Jade Johnson produced her best effort since the Athens Olympics when in finishing fourth with 6.71 metres at the specialist jumping meeting in Mühlhausen, Germany on Saturday

The Olympic and world champion Kenenisa Bekele produced the fourth fastest 10,000m ever in winning at yesterday's Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon in 26min 25.97sec as he sought to break his own world record of 26:17.53.

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