Chambers =WL60 6.51

Saturday, 14 February 2009 Chambers equals 6.51 world lead in Sheffield – UK indoor champs day 1

Sheffield, UK - Dwain Chambers equalled the fastest time in the world this year to retain his 60m title at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield today.

Chambers twice matched Mike Rodgers’ 6.51 from the Millrose Games in New York two weeks ago as he booked his place in the British team for the European Indoor Championships in Turin on 6 March.

Chambers, the world indoor silver medallist last year, will now be a clear favourite for the European title as he has the four quickest times of any sprinter on the continent. His time at the EIS Arena today was also a personal best, making him the fourth quickest Briton of all time.

“Let’s not jump the gun,” said the 30-year-old of his Turin prospects. “I’ve done the hard part now and that’s to qualify. Really I’m just grateful to be here and be back in the team.”

Barring injury or disqualification, it was clear who was going to win from the first round when Chambers clocked 6.53 barely drawing breath while most of his opponents were working hard to get through.

Tyrone Edgar and Simeon Williamson coped best with Chambers’ imposing presence, finishing second and third in the final, although they must now wait for the selectors’ verdict. The Turin team will be announced on 24 February after the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham next Saturday.

Edgar, an Olympic 100m semi-finallist last year, was closest to Chambers with 6.64, 0.02s ahead of Williamson. “If I don’t get in the team now I’m never coming back, believe me,” said the US-based Edgar. “We’ve got some great sprinters here, so to be in the mix today is a great feeling.”

One sprinter definitely not in the mix was Craig Pickering. Expected to be Chambers’ closest rival, the reigning European silver medallist had a disastrous day. He was 0.13s slower than Chambers in the heats and then cracked under pressure in the semi-final when he was disqualified for false starting.

“If it was me picking the team I would not be in,” he said. “But I’m not a selector so I will have to wait and see.”

Maduaka collects fifth indoor title

There was no cracking the evergreen Joice Maduaka, an easy winner of the women’s 60m in 7.36. The 35-year-old left her younger colleagues floundering as she racked up her fifth British indoor title.

“I just laugh now at the age thing,” said Maduaka. “At the end of the day I love this sport so I don’t really care about it. If they were giving me an extra yard for every year I am older than them then yeah, let’s talk about it, but they’re not.”

Elsewhere there were mixed fortunes for Britain’s tried and well-tested internationals.

Difficult day for Sotherton

Kelly Sotherton ended the day in tears on the physiotherapist’s treatment table after a recurrence of the back injury that forced her to miss the Aviva International in Glasgow two weeks ago.

After finishing second in the 60m hurdles with 8.30 Sotherton failed to produce a legitimate effort in the long jump, recording just 4.73m from her aborted fifth round jump. She then left the competition without taking her sixth attempt.

It was meant to be a useful warm up for her head-to-head tussle against Olympic Heptathlon champion Nataliya Dobrynska in Birmingham next Saturday, but it remains to be seen if she appears tomorrow for the Shot Put and High Jump.

Gemma Bennett won the 60m Hurdles with a PB of 8.07, while Kelly Proper won the Long Jump with 6.44m, a national record for the Irish athlete.

Sixth title for Tomlinson

World indoor silver medallist Chris Tomlinson won the men’s Long Jump with 7.72m, his sixth British indoor title, although it was a victory aided partly by the absence of Greg Rutherford.

An Olympic finallist and European silver medallist outdoors, Rutherford withdrew from today’s event after being admitted to hospital this week with a recurrence of the virus that hampered his medal prospects in Beijing. He hopes to be fit for Birmingham next weekend.

World indoor champion Phillips Idowu is another worry for the British selectors. The Olympic silver medallist opted for caution and pulled out of tomorrow’s Triple Jump after injuring the back of his knee this week. He also hopes to be fit by next weekend.

One of Britain’s other Olympic medallists was on show today, however, Tasha Danvers probably wishes she hadn’t competed. The Beijing 400m Hurdles bronze medallist entered the 800m heats “for training” but after chasing the lead for 600m she tied up dramatically over the final circuit to finish a distant last in 2:12.58.

“That was my first indoor race for 13 years,” she said. “And after that performance I will not be running indoors again this year. I am definitely not thinking of moving up to that distance.”

Jeanny Meadows was easily the fastest qualifier for tomorrow’s final while her great rival Marilyn Okoro, the Olympic semi-finallist, looks on course for victory in the 400m. She set PBs in both heats and semis today, reducing her best to 54.66 in the first round and then to 53.30.

There was more disappointment for GB internationals in the men’s High Jump. Samson Oni, who cleared 2.29 in Glasgow two weeks ago, managed only 2.15m, while Martyn Bernard, the European indoor silver medallist two years ago, could only clear 2.19m. Tom Parsons, a world and Olympic finallist, pulled out with a heel injury.

With their demise, the event – predicted to be one of the most competitive contests of the weekend – proved an easy win for Darvin Edwards of St Lucia with 2.22m. Edwards, competing here as a guest, took a crack at his national record of 2.25m, coming close on his third attempt.

There was a national record in the women’s Pole vault, However, as Kate Dennison cleared 4.45m to break the seven-year-old British mark.

“It’s about time,” she said. “I’ve been trying to get that for two years. The best thing is I’ve now got the qualifying for the Europeans.”

Matthew Brown for the IAAF