Commenee vows to 'treat Chambers like any other athlete'

It was difficult to say which was the most striking performance of all in South Yorkshire's Steel City as British athletics launched into a new era at the weekend.

On the track, in the European Trials and UK Championships at the English Institute of Sport's indoor arena in Sheffield, Dwain Chambers hit the top of the world rankings with a lifetime best in the men's 60m, running 6.51sec in the semi-final and final, despite suffering from a flu bug. The Belgrave Harrier will travel to Turin for the European Indoor Championships at the start of next month as the hottest of favourites.

Off the track, Charles van Commenee emerged from the blocks in similarly decisive fashion, hitting the ground in top gear as the new head coach of UK Athletics, grasping the nettle of Chambers' problematic situation and setting his sights on a medal target of "something over six" for the 2012 Olympics – a significant raising of the bar from the tally of four that Britain's athletes won in Beijing last summer.

Chambers (right) will not be one of the medal hopefuls in London, because of the British Olympic Association by-law barring past doping offenders from selection. Van Commenee, though, intends to embrace the 30-year-old's maturing talents, which will be available to the British team in Turin next month and at the World Championships in Berlin in August. "I will treat Dwain the same as any other athlete of that calibre," the Dutchman said. "I know there are restrictions funding- and competition-wise. But, for me, he is a human being – he served his sentence, and he will be part of the squad. We all wish, including Dwain himself, that he had not done what he did. He is paying a high price for it. But there is a new reality now and we have to close that chapter. It is a dark cloud that has been hanging over the sport for too long.

''I am saying something about it now and I will do so again soon, about how we deal with it in light of the relay, but then it should be over. We move on."

With the development of the 4 x 100m relay squad geared towards 2012, it seems likely that Chambers will not be part of it – even if his form in Sheffield on Saturday was more impressive than that in Kingston, Jamaica, of Usain Bolt, who emerged from his winter hibernation with a leisurely 46.35sec clocking for 400m. It is typical of Van Commenee that he has chosen to address the complexities of Chambers' situation with such head-on pragmatism – and that he has set his sights high for 2012.

Mo Farah – in highly impressive form yesterday as a clear winner of the 1500m, clocking 3min 40.57sec – is one of the emerging younger guns upon whom Van Commenee will be pinning his hopes in three years time. Donna Fraser is unlikely to still be competing then but the 36-year-old completed a brilliant double yesterday, winning the 200m in 23.48sec and the 400m in 52.83sec.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project