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.

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral