Chambers sparks sprint row after relay Gold

Darren Campbell's last hurrah as an international athlete ended with anything but good cheer here yesterday as he refused to join his sprint relay colleagues on a lap of honour after they had earned Britain's only gold at the 19th European Championships.

On a day when three further silvers and a bronze took Britain's total of medals to 11, placing them 10th in the final medals table, the 32-year-old Sale Harrier offered no explicit reason for his decision, merely commenting that he felt he could not join in the celebrations because he was "not a hypocrite".

But Campbell's unhappiness, evident at the medal ceremony, stemmed from the inclusion in the sprint relay team of Dwain Chambers, who returned this season after a two-year doping ban and whose misdemeanours resulted in Britain being stripped of the relay gold medal from the 2002 European Championships.

Campbell, who earned praise from the UK Athletics performance director, Dave Collins, on the eve of the championships for the influence he brought to bear on the relay team, told officials before the 4x100 metres competition started that he did not want to run in the same team as Chambers. Once Chambers was chosen, however, Campbell felt duty-bound to run. His dissatisfaction with Chambers was compounded by the fact that he felt the Londoner had not properly apologised for his actions.

Chambers said after yesterday's win that he had offered his team-mates an apology "face to face" three days earlier. It is understood, however, that the apology did not come unprompted.

"The past is the past and we're all smiling now," Chambers added - a statement that was wrong in every respect.

Collins expressed surprise at Campbell's actions. "As far as I was concerned it had all been sorted out," he said. "They had a meeting and Dwain was very open. Darren said he wasn't happy, but let's get on with it. As far as I was concerned he was happy. I would have expected him to have spoken to me if he wasn't happy."

It is understood that the relay coach Michael Khmel checked that the line-up for the final was acceptable on the night before. Chambers was reported to be ready to stand down if there was an objection.

Britain's medal total was one more than Collins had predicted, something that will no doubt have cheered this beleaguered figure after a week when some of his policies and actions had been widely criticised.

The final tally was significantly improved by relay performances, as the women's sprinters and the men's 400m runners added silver to the men's sprinters' gold. Mohammed Farah performed with huge credit to take another silver in the 5,000m, where he was beaten on the line by Spain's Jesus Espana, and Sam Ellis forced his way through to earn an unexpected bronze in the 800m.

It was a good day for the British team. But in truth, it was the kind of day they used to have every day at European Championships over the past 20 years. Four years ago in Munich they won seven golds - although two of them were later annulled because of Chambers' involvement. This year they won one, something which has occurred only twice before since Britain first entered these Championships in 1938.

While the sprint relay team, which contained three of the members who earned the Olympic title in Athens two years ago, can be rightly proud of a job well done, they offer no great hope for future Olympics. Campbell is on the brink of retirement; Devonish is now 30; and Chambers is ineligible for any future Games under British Olympic Association rules. Only Mark Lewis-Francis, now 23, looks likely to run in Beijing, never mind London 2012.

The lack of empathy within the British quartet was painfully evident in the aftermath of victory. Campbell, who ran the second leg after a handover from Chambers that appeared something of a stretch, ambled down the home straight before waving away Devonish and Lewis-Francis' obvious invitation to join them on a celebratory lap.

Campbell briefly greeted both, but pointedly turned away from Chambers before moving towards the television interview positions, where he told the BBC that it would be hypocritical of him to do a lap of honour, adding: "I've had certain accusations thrown at me because I take part in a team that I have no control [over]. Read the papers. I've made my situation clear."

As he came through to speak to the written media, Campbell, his face blank, offered another opaque statement. "There's your gold," he said. "That's what the sport's about. Celebrate."

There followed a medal ceremony where Chambers and Campbell acted like opposed magnets. Lewis- Francis, too, looked out of sorts. Only Devonish, as usual, was smiling. The top step of the podium looked a mightily uncomfortable place to be.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
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

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This care provider provides hom...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Apprenticeships

£10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an outstanding opportunity for 1...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum