Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dwain Chambers caps comeback with 1st world title

DOHA, Qatar — Dwain Chambers capped his improbable comeback from a two-year doping ban with his first world title Saturday after winning the 60 meters at the World Indoor Championships.

"That was probably the hardest six seconds of my life," said Chambers, who clocked 6.48 seconds to beat American rival Mike Rodgers by .05 seconds. "But I'm just glad I stuck at it and did the best I could. I'm just grateful that I was able to do everyone proud. A lot can change and it has changed for the better."

Things are certainly looking a bit different for the 30-year-old British sprinter than when he started his comeback in 2005. Chambers, who tested positive for a banned steroid in 2003, struggled with his performances and received a lukewarm reception from both fans and teammates.
He quit the sport in 2007, trying his hand at American football and rugby, but with little success. He returned to running just a year later, and went on to win at the European Indoor Championships last season.

Now, he has a gold from Doha as well.

Chambers looked the favorite all weekend, but said he and all the runners were tense at the start of the final. Chambers got out fast but had to fend off a surge from Rodgers in the end, who acknowledged that he tightened up with about five meters to go.

"As I much as I knew I would win, I knew these guys weren't going to give it to me easy," Chambers said.

Chambers crossed the line with a wide grin on his face and was embraced by Rodgers, who called the Briton a worthy winner.

"He earned it. He worked hard," Rodgers said. "I ran against him the best I could. I thought I was going to get him but he got on. He ran a great race."

Asked about the drug ban, Rodgers said "he served his time and he learned his lesson. That is what he told me. He earned his medal."

Chambers is unlikely to remain in the spotlight once the outdoor season starts. He is banned for life from the British Olympic team and has struggled to get invites from the major European athletics meet organizers, who have ostracized him like other doping-tainted athletes. Still, Chambers said he was hopeful that Doha was just the start of great things to come.

"Wins like this boost my confidence again and hopefully it will open up a few doors for the summer," he said.

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