Dwain Chambers last night served notice not just of his intention to compete at this summer's Olympics but to make the podium there as he won his first 100m race in two years.
The 29-year-old London athlete, who is currently banned from any Games by a British Olympic Association bylaw, won in Kalamata, Greece, in a time of 10.25sec, comfortably inside the target of 10.85 that he needed to qualify for next month's Olympic trials in Birmingham.
Chambers, who finished strongly over the final 30 metres to get the decision over Mike Skiles of the United States in a photo finish, commented: "Beijing is still there for me. I will be there, don't worry. I'm optimistic. The ruling is unfair, it only exists in Britain. I don't want to put my country in a difficult position, but I'm doing this because I believe I can do well in the Olympics. I believe that I can be in the first three in Beijing – I can win a medal."
That is something Chambers never got close to before serving his two-year doping ban in 2003 for taking the banned steroid THG, although he did win the 2002 European title in his best time of 9.87sec. The event has moved on since, with Jamaica's Usain Bolt taking the world record down to 9.72 at the weekend, so Chambers's prediction is certainly hugely optimistic.
That said, his performance in winning the world indoor 60m silver in March showed he is still capable of operating at world class levels and he appears capable of forcing the issue at the trials, after which he is likely to contest the BOA ban in the High Court
Antonio Pettigrew, who admitted during the recent trial involving his former coach Trevor Graham that he had taken illegal performance-enhancing substances since 1997, has agreed to return all the medals he won during that time, including an Olympic 400m relay gold from the 2000 Games in Sydney.
The 40-year-old former world champion has also received a two-year ban, although as he retired from the track in 2002 and now coaches at the University of North Carolina, the sanction is merely symbolic.
* Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro were named yesterday as candidate cities to host the 2016 Olympics, the IOC has said.Reuse content