Chambers says sorry for F-word TV outburst
Controversial veteran beats rising star of British sprinting but fails to make Olympic qualifying standard
Sunday 24 June 2012
Dwain Chambers was involved in an F-word controversy last night when he swore at the trackside television cameras after crossing the line. He was a surprise, pumped-up winner of the 100m final at the Olympic trials here to lay provisional claim to a place on the British team for the London Games after all his tribulations on the drug rule front.
After overturning the form-book and resisting the challenge of the burgeoning 18-year-old Adam Gemili, the 34-year-old Londoner launched into a manic celebration and was caught clearly saying "fuck off". "There's no need for that," BBC commentator Steve Cram said.
Chambers was as quick out of the blocks to apologise as he had been in the race. "I am sorry," he said. "I just wanted to win. I haven't felt like that for a long time, but you need that bit of anger in you do a sport like this. You can't be sane. I'm not sane. I apologise. I didn't mean it. My kids are watching that as well."
It was clear that the long-time king of British sprinting was pumped up on a cocktail of fear and adrenalin for the race, with the young pretender from Dartford – a former Dagenham & Redbridge academy footballer who was also once on Chelsea's books – threatening to steal his crown.
Gemili had looked majestic in the heats and semi-finals, maintaining the form that took him to a 10.08sec clocking at Regensburg in Germany three weeks ago. When it came to the crunch of the final, however, Chambers flew from his blocks like a man on a mission and stayed in front, despite a late challenge from Gemili. It was in keeping with the madness and confusion on day two of an event to determine Olympic places. It was not entirely sure whether the winner of the blue riband race would be racing in his home town Games.
Having overcome the hurdle of the now-defunct British Olympic Association bylaw precluding former drugs offenders from Team GB selection, Chambers only has a provisional claim of a place.
The first two finishers in the trials have an automatic right to selection only if they have achieved the Olympic A standard qualifying mark in their event. That is 10.18sec and Chambers' winning time yesterday, his fastest of the summer, was 10.25sec. He could still be selected on 3 July on the strength of two A standards from last year but intends to remove any doubt by making the grade at the European Championships, which open in Helsinki on Wednesday.
As for Gemili, the runner-up in 10.29sec, he has both a current A standard and a top-two placing and can therefore look forward to facing Usain Bolt and Co in London in August. The young Dartford flyer's main priority remains the World Junior Championships in Barcelona next month and he will consult his coach, Michael Afilaka, before deciding whether to formally accept his place.
"It's not definite but it's quite likely," Gemili said. "I'll talk to my coach over the weekend but I've got the slot now."
Chambers confessed that he "ran with fear". "I'm just glad that I beat the young boy," he said. "As an old man, you don't want to be beaten by the young boys. That's a sign that you're declining."
The signs were there in the semi-final when a sluggish Chambers failed to get past Simeon Williamson. It would be a major surprise now, though, if the selectors failed to back someone who finished on the podium at the World Indoor Championships in March.
Sadly, there will be no home Games for Jodie Williams. The 18-year-old female sprint prodigy has been struggling with a hamstring problem all summer and suffered a tear 10 metres from the line in the women's 100m final. The world junior champion was already out of contention and left the track in tears. "I'm absolutely gutted," she tweeted later. "But I'll come back stronger next year."
There were comfortable victories for reigning Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu and world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene (pictured).
Jessica Ennis, preparing for the heptathlon in London, won the high jump with a clearance of 1.89m and took the scalp of the UK record-holder Tiffany Porter with a 12.92sec clocking in the 100m hurdles.
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