Dwain Chambers returns from South Africa in very good form
If any further evidence was needed of Dwain Chambers’ rehabilitation back into the British team, the sprinter told AW that he is probably in the form of his life after being a part of the UKA warm-weather training trip to South Africa over the winter.
It is the first time since his return that Chambers has been part of an overseas training trip funded by the national governing body. He now hopes to show just how valuable that block of training was, by defending his European Indoor title in Paris next month.
I am stronger mentally and physically this year and probably in the best shape of my career.
“I am fortunate enough to be in the position to prepare properly for the 2011 season by going to South Africa. This has not been possible in the last few years,” Chambers explained. “I am stronger mentally and physically this year and probably in the best shape of my career.
“I have to qualify for the European team before I can defend the title in Paris,” he added of his indoor campaign. “There are a number of British athletes competing for places. If I am selected then it will be an honour to represent my GB team.”
Chambers has been undefeated over 60m since the 2008 World Indoor Championships, where he won silver. Since then he has won the European indoor title – smashing the European record in the process with 6.42 – and picked up world indoor gold last year in Doha.
However, it is only in recent years that Chambers has excelled indoors. Before 2003 he rarely raced on the boards, but he doesn’t mind being seen as an indoor specialist now. “For me it’s a compliment to be seen as a specialist in any event of the international stage,” he said.
Chambers, 32, has been almost as consistent outdoors. Last year he only lost three races. Unfortunately for Chambers, one of those losses came at the peak of the season at the European Championships in Barcelona. French youngster Christophe Lemaître won gold while Mark Lewis-Francis came through to win a surprise silver as Chambers lost out in a close finish and ended up fifth.
I was devastated after Barcelona. Losing those championships prompted me to reassess and make significant changes to my preparation for this season.
“I was devastated,” said Chambers of his Europeans experience. “But when I stood back, I realised I was beaten by better athletes on the day. Losing those championships prompted me to reassess and make significant changes to my preparation for this season.
“There are many physical and mental pressures when you compete in championships,” added Chambers when asked if the pressure got to him in Barcelona. “I am experienced enough to be able to deal with those pressures mentally. Physically I am in better shape than last year and hope to perform better than I did last season.”
Chambers will get the opportunity to show just what kind of shape he is in at this weekend’s Birmingham Indoor Games, where he faces Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Craig Pickering and Leon Baptiste. The following week he plans on winning his fourth successive UK indoor 60m title in She eld to secure his place on the team for Paris.
Outdoors, his aim is to run faster than his 9.99 from last year and to improve on his sixthplace finish from Berlin at the World Championships in Daegu. “Breaking the 10-second barrier is important to any sprinter, and with the preparation I have had this year, I obviously hope to do the same this year,” he said. “At this stage I still need to qualify for the World Championships. If I do, then I hope to improve on my performance last time round.”