Chambers tries to ignore Olympic talk as he storms heat

If 2012 fever was sweeping through the elite competitors on the opening night of the Aviva UK Trials and Championships here in Birmingham last night, the winner of heat two of the men's 100m could be excused for feeling immune.

For Dwain Chambers, the big target next year is not the global gathering being staged near his north London home but the Crackerjack Pencil affair of the European Championships in Helsinki. As things stand, that is.

At the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm last night, the American 400m runner LaShawn Merritt was returning to action after serving the 21-month sentence he was given for testing positive for ingesting anabolic steroids from a male-enhancement product, EtenZe. In two weeks' time the Court of Arbitration for Sport will consider a request from the United States Olympic Committee to give "a definitive ruling" on the validity of the International Olympic Committee rule that bans returning drug offenders from the Olympic Games which follows the end of their suspension.

If Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter were to be revoked, Merritt would be free to defend his Olympic crown in London – and pressure would fall upon the British Olympic Association to reconsider the byelaw they have in place which precludes drug offenders from Olympic selection for life.

Not that Chambers is contemplating a repeat of the failed legal challenge he made in the High Court before the Beijing Olympics in 2008. "I'm just concentrating on the opportunities that I have available to me," the 32-year-old Belgrave Harrier said, after cantering to a heat win in 10.46sec. "I just want to make sure I qualify for the team for the World Championships next month."

With next year in mind, though, surely it must be difficult for the Londoner training every day at the Lee Valley High Performance Centre, alongside athletes who are focused on the big event in 2012? "Yeah, I'm constantly reminded," Chambers said with a sigh. "I switch on the TV and I see it. I read the paper and I see it. But, you know, there's nothing I can do about it. All I can do is concentrate on the races that I have, and hopefully still remain No 1 in Britain."

Chambers has won the national 100m title on five occasions, although his 2003 success was retrospectively annulled following his drugs cock-up: taking a cocktail of illicit products from Victor Conte's Balco drugs factory. As for Merritt, he has a world title to defend in Daegu next month.

Chambers might still be considered persona non grata by directors of the EuroMeetings group of events but Merritt stepped straight back from his ban into a top-notch Diamond League fixture last night. "He was not banned for two years," Rajne Soderberg, director of the Stockholm meeting and head of EuroMeetings, said. "He did not put the sport into real disrepute.

Merritt only showed signs of rust in the home straight, clocking an impressive 44.74sec as runner-up to Jermaine Gonzales, of Jamaica. "I wanted to knock some cobwebs off," he said. "I can't complain with 44.7 in my first race. I needed to get one out." Asked about the IOC rule and the prospect of defending his Olympic crown in London, the American said: "I'm just leaving it all up to God to figure it out. My focus is on the World Championships."

Usain Bolt is also focused on Daegu, where he will be defending his 100m and 200m titles. Competing at 200m in Stockholm last night, the Jamaican maintained his unbeaten record this year, prevailing in 20.03sec.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SEO Manager

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a white-ha...

Recruitment Genius: Operations and Administration Support Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading Solar P...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Support Specialist

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is changing the way at...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor