For Dwain Chambers, the key battle has yet to come in 2012. Still, as he awaits the Court of Arbitration for Sport's definitive ruling on the British Olympic Association's lifetime ban on doping offenders – due to be announced before the end of April – the world indoor 60 metres champion is up and running in London Olympic year.
The 33-year-old Londoner was in Moscow yesterday for his first competition of the year, the Russian Winter Meeting at the CSKA Indoor Arena. He did not get off to a winning start, finishing 0.01 seconds down on Josh Norman of the United States as runner-up in the 60m final, in 6.64sec, after clocking 6.68sec for second behind Rytis Sakalauskas of Lithuania in his heat. He fared better than his British team-mate Simeon Williamson, who finished third in his heat in 6.64sec but was disqualified for a false start in the final.
Next up for Chambers is the defence of his national indoor 60m crown on day two of the Aviva Indoor Trials and UK Championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield next Sunday. Beyond that lies the defence of his world indoor 60m title in Istanbul next month – and the CAS decision that seems likely to open the door to an Olympic return for the Belgrave Harrier, 12 years after his fourth-placed finish in the 100m final in Sydney.
It was not the best of weekends for one of the 2011 golden boys of British athletics. A week after his season-opening 1500m win against Augustine Choge in Glasgow, Mo Farah had to settle for fourth in the mile race at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. The world 5,000m champion fell on the opening lap – and still managed to record a sub-four-minute mile, clocking a personal best of 3min 57.92sec.
"I thought I was going to make it all the way but my legs just gave way," said Farah, who got into second place with 600m to go. "Somebody just caught my leg and once I fell I had to get back up as quickly as possible." Ireland's Ciaran O'Lionaird won in 3:56.01.
The meeting featured an American record of 4.88m in the women's pole vault by Jenn Suhr, which knocked Britain's Holly Bleasdale down to second in the world for 2012 and third in the world all-time list. Like Bleasdale, who soared over 4.87m at Wuppertal in Germany a fortnight ago, Suhr had an unsuccessful crack at 5.01m, which would have been a 1cm improvement on Yelena Isinbayeva's world indoor record height. On Saturday, world heptathlon silver medallist Jessica Ennis clocked her fastest season's opener in the 60m hurdles with a victory in 8.06sec at the McCain Indoor City Challenge in Sheffield. Ennis finished second in the long jump with 6.19m.