GB's brave new world begins with whimper as Dwain Chambers misfires

 

Scandinavium Arena

It promises to be a super enough Saturday for the British track and field team in their first engagement since the home Olympics but for one of the country’s most prolific indoor performers the European Championships got off to a Friday flop of a start in Gothenburg yesterday.

Dwain Chambers did not exactly come into the three-day meeting with great expectations on his shoulders, having missed the trials in Sheffield last month with a back problem and failed to get beyond the heats of the 60m in the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham two weeks ago. Still, with his pedigree as a former world and European indoor 60m champion, and as holder of the continental record with 6.42 seconds, it was something of a jolt to see the former doping offender fall at the first round hurdle.

Needing to finish in the first four in his heat to secure a place in today’s semi-finals, Chambers was sluggish out of the blocks and laboured home fifth in 6.78sec. Only four men were slower in the three heats and 17 quicker. It was not even good enough for one of the four ‘fastest loser’ qualifying slots.

Chambers tore off his GB vest and threw down his shoes in disgust as he left the track, declining to share his thoughts as he exited the arena. After time for reflection, however, the 34-year-old said: “The performance was not what I expected. I can only express my disappointment because a lot of time and effort was put into me getting to these championships. I want to apologise to the people whose time I feel I have wasted.

 “I came here with all the intention to do well and fight for a medal which is always what I have been renowned for doing but the injury obviously took more out of me than I had anticipated, so with that I’m really disappointed and feel bad for letting people down.”

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and James Dasaolu both qualified from their 60m heats. clocking 6.65sec and 6.62sec respectively, but there was another British let down in the first round of the men’s. Ranked number one in Europe this year, Michael Rimmer could only finish number three in his heat and his finishing time, 1min 51.04sec, was not quick enough to get him through to the semi-finals as one of the fastest losers. Still, Sheffield’s Mukhtar Mohammed and Cardiff’s Joe Thomas both won their heats.

And Holly Bleasdale came up smelling of roses after a potential disaster before the qualifying round of the pole vault. “She accidentally squirted perfume into her eyes this morning,” team captain Jenny Meadows revealed. “I hope she can see the bar okay.”

Thankfully, it proved a breeze for Bleasdale, who is ranked number one in her event. A first time clearance at 4.56m guaranteed the young Lancastrian a place in today’s final.

As for Meadows - on the comeback trail following 18 months out injured - she was some way short of her best but ran well enough to make it through a tough 800m heat. Yelena Kotulskaya of Russia proved too strong for her, prevailing in 2min 02.35sec, but the 31-year-old Briton qualified in third, clocking 2:02.88 behind Nataliya Lupu of Ukraine. “I’ve got work to do but I still think I can finish in the medals,” Meadows said. “My heat was loaded with the fastest girls.”

Kotulskaya is only ranked fourth in European this season but none of the three women faster than her are competing here. They are all fellow Russians and the Russian Federation have only sent one entrant. They had two women on the podium in Paris two years ago  but winner Yevgeniya Zinurova and third-placed Yuliya Rusanova – have since been retrospectively disqualified for doping offences, leaving Meadows, originally the silver medallist, as the defending champion.

There should be a clutch of British medals today, with Bleasdale, high jumper Robbie Grabarz and long jumper Shara Proctor all in finals. There should be more to come on the final day, too, Perri Shakes-Drayton having been a class apart in the first round of the 400m yesterday, winning her heat in 51.70sec. The hurdles specialist will start a clear favourite in the final tomorrow, barring a semi-final disaster today. 

Ennis ‘so sad’ at stadium demise

Jessica Ennis will have to find a new training venue because the stadium where for 15 years she honed the skills that brought her Olympic heptathlon gold at London 2012 is being demolished.

Sheffield City Council have voted to knock down the Don Valley Stadium, which was also briefly home to Rotherham United, in a move they hope will save them £700,000.

“So sad to lose Don Valley Stadium where it all started for me,” Ennis tweeted. “Great memories.”

There is talk of the old Woodburn Road track, which closed 18 months ago, being reopened as an alternative venue.

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: We are currently looking for a Geog...

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee