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.

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before