Athletics: Chambers earns himself rest before season's showstoppers

By Mike Rowbottom
Monday 06 January 2014 04:50

Having defeated Maurice Greene, the world's leading sprinter, twice in the space of 48 hours, Dwain Chambers is on something of a roll. He even made a winning appearance at Wimbledon yesterday.

Admittedly it was a winning smile that was on display in SW19 as he was interviewed by Sue Barker minutes after rain interrupted the BBC's coverage of the day's play.

Chambers, who finished the 200 metres in Sheffield on Sunday night troubled by a muscle injury to his right shoulder, confirmed that he will be taking a step back from his competitive programme in order to train for the European Championship trials in Birmingham on 11-13 July.

"At the moment I feel as if I've proved myself,' he said. "What I need to do now is rest and get ready for the trials."

Which means no racing in tonight's meeting at Lausanne, or Friday's IAAF Golden League meeting in Paris, where he was originally due to meet Greene on two further occasions.

Even before Chambers had taken part in the second of his races at the Don Valley Stadium his manager John Regis, a former world 200m silver medallist, was planning a more restful regime for his charge as the most appropriate preparation for the main tasks of the season, namely medalling at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

Regis believes the advances Chambers has made this year, which he began by spending nine weeks in San Francisco with Remi Korchemny, a coach who once worked with the 1972 double Olympic champion Valeriy Borzov, have transformed him as an athlete.

"He's like a different person,' Regis said. "Dwain has worked very hard on his technique, and he is now finishing the 100 metres without feeling tired. He always used to put so much physical energy into his races that he wasn't able to relax at any point, and you have to be able to do that. Remi is a technical genius."

Chambers has also benefited from training for the 200 metres for the first time in earnest this winter, a committment that has already been rewarded with a personal best of 20.27sec.

"Running the 200m has also helped his 100m," Regis added. "He doesn't die now. He's strong enough to maintain his technique."

A further factor which was evident in the cold and rain of Sheffield on Sunday night was Chambers's 19-year-old British rival Mark Lewis-Francis, who ran him very close before losing vital fractions of a second by turning to stare on the line.

Lewis-Francis has still not officially broken 10 seconds, but his wind-assisted time of 9.97sec merely offered further evidence of his astonishing potential. It is a domestic rivalry which Regis believes could yield rich rewards.

"We've never had two British sprinters pushing each other like this. These two guys are pushing themselves to new levels," said Regis, who believes the nine-year-old British record of 9.87sec held by his old sprint rival Linford Christie is likely to be broken either this year or next. "At the moment they are just trying to be the best in Britain, but soon that could mean the world."

Greene will take advantage of a lightning-quick Pontaise track as well as Chamber's absence in Paris on Friday. Triple Olympic champion Marion Jones, meanwhile, returns confidently to Paris as the top billing in the women's competition at the Athletissima meeting.

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