Dwain Chambers has called UK Athletics' bluff and won the right to compete at this weekend's Norwich Union World Indoor trials. The domestic governing body wanted to exclude the 29-year-old sprinter, who returned to athletics in 2006 after a two-year doping ban, because he had not been on their out-of-competition drug-testing register for a minimum of 12 months before his latest comeback following the collapse of his American Football career.
But Chambers' claims that he had not asked to be dropped from the register, and that he had continued to let the International Association of Athletics Associations know of his whereabouts, were confirmed this week by the international body. And as his lawyers prepared to serve an injunction on UKA, the domestic authorities reluctantly gave way.
So Chambers, who last Saturday won the Birmingham Games 60m in 6.60sec – well inside the qualifying time of 6.90 – will now line up against a field including Craig Pickering, who won in 6.57sec at Glasgow last month.
UKA will hope that Pickering claims the title, which offers the only automatic qualifying place. Should Chambers win, its only prospect of preventing him appearing at next month's World Indoor Championships in Valencia would be through "exceptional circumstances", which would almost certainly trigger legal retaliation.
Niels de Vos, the UKA chief executive, acknowledged yesterday that under IAAF rules there were no grounds to bar Chambers, who tested positive in 2003 for the steroid THG. "I am relieved and delighted about UKA's decision allowing me to run," Chambers said. "I would like to thank Mr de Vos personally. As for the future, I just want to concentrate on Sunday."