DWAIN Chambers yesterday ensured he will be able to defend his World Indoor title in Istanbul next month with a hard-fought victory at the Aviva UK Trials and Championships in Sheffield.
But the 33-year-old also admitted he has one eye on the London Olympics ahead of the court case which will decide if he can compete on home soil this summer.
The British Olympic Association will argue before the Court of Arbitration for Sport on March 12 that the BOA’s bylaw, which bans convicted drugs cheats from competing in the Olympic Games, does not violate the World Anti-Doping Association code.
Chambers, cyclist David Millar and other athletes convicted of doping offences are currently ineligible for London 2012, but if CAS find the BOA’s bylaw to be non-compliant with the world anti-doping code, they can be selected for Team GB.
“That is in my mind but it’s out of my hands,” Chambers said after winning the 60 metres title in 6.58 seconds at the English Institute of Sport, just holding off 21-year-old Andrew Robertson (6.61). “I have to prepare and if the door opens at least I am prepared and I can compete to the best of my ability. If that does not happen, there is the European Championships in Helsinki.
“No athlete has the green light, we all still have to qualify. I talk about it (the Olympics) with the others, although my situation is different. I can encourage them and if the opportunity presents itself I will be able to run beside them.”
Chambers – who almost catapulted over the barrier at the end of the track – lost an appeal against his ban in 2008 and was keen to avoid another court battle, adding: “The climate is a lot different because I am not taking the fight, which I am grateful for. I don’t want to be in court.”
In the women’s race, Beijing Olympic finalist Jeanette Kwakye took the title ahead of world and European junior champion Jodie Williams. Asha Philip, the top-ranked Briton before this weekend, was disqualified from the semi-finals for a false start.
“It’s humbling to run 7.20, but the girls are going faster and I need to do well at the World Indoors before I can think about the Olympics,” Kwakye said.
Elsewhere, Jessica Ennis opted not to compete in the long jump, but was delighted to twice equal her personal best of 7.95secs in the 60m hurdles. “To run that back-to-back is great,” said the 26-year-old, who won the high jump on Saturday and will defend her pentathlon title in Istanbul. “It’s been a good weekend to be doing season’s bests and close to PBs.”
Perhaps the most impressive performance came in the high jump, where Holly Bleasdale won the competition with her first jump at 4.52m and went on to clear 4.70m with ease.
Bleasdale, second in the world rankings this year with her stunning clearance of 4.87m last month, failed with three attempts at improving her British record to 4.89m but said: “I’ve got Birmingham next weekend and the World Indoor Championships coming up, so I’m saving my big jump for then.”
Elsewhere, there were victories in the 400m for Shana Cox and Nigel Levine, while Shara Proctor won the long jump with a leap of 6.68m – two centimetres short of the British record.
Andrew Pozzi set a new personal best in winning the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.62 to seal his place on the team for Istanbul.