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Dwain Chambers
Chambers - Saw off comeback kid MLF in the 60m
8 February 2010

Day 1, February 6

DWAIN Chambers started his 2010 campaign in some style at the Birmingham Games as he saw off former relay Olympic champion Mark Lewis-Francis to retake the mantle of Britain’s best sprinter.

Chambers, who took European Indoor gold in Turin last year, produced an impressive performance in Birmingham, clocking 6.58 seconds en route to victory.

Second was Lewis-Francis, a further 0.08 seconds behind as he continues to take small steps back to the form that saw him anchor Great Britain to sprint relay gold at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

At 31, it was a performance from Chambers that belies his age, and he jumped to second in the world rankings, just 0.01 behind the USA’s Mark Jelks, who clocked 6.57 in Dusseldorf on Wednesday.

“I’ve got a lot out of the day and it’s good to be competing again,” said Chambers.

“It’s been fun to have the rivalry between myself and Mark. It has brought the buzz back for me.

“We’ve been running against each other for a long time.

“Doha is the next main focus for me but I can’t think about that until the trials next week – I still need to qualify first.

“There’s no point in putting the cart before the horse.

 “Having competition like that just gives you that little bit more of an incentive. Everyone’s come out injury-free and were all happy.”

Birchfield Harrier Lewis-Francis has been plagued by injuries ever since holding the USA’s Maurice Greene at bay in the Greek capital six years ago to clinch relay gold.

He was forced to sit out the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 with an Achilles injury before a lacklustre 2009 saw a season’s best of a below-par 10.37 seconds.

But the 27-year-old was in good spirits after his outing in Birmingham, he said: “I’ve raced three times in one day and I’ve walked away from it injury-free.

“My body feels good, I’m in one piece and I really can’t complain.

“For now I’m just going to go with the flow and see what happens rather than set targets for myself.”

In a busy day there was also an extremely impressive return to action for sprinter Katherine Ellacott, who took gold in the women’s 60m.

The City of Plymouth athlete has only recently come back from a three-year hiatus after having a daughter and looked good as she clocked a winning time of 7.47 seconds.

Birchfield Harrier Sonia Cowley won the women’s long jump after dominating the rest of the field.

Cowley’s best jump was 5.72m, her fourth attempt of the competition as she finished 13cm ahead of her nearest challenger, Alice Lennox of City of Stoke although she controlled the contest throughout.

Her team-mate, Ingmar Vos claimed the bronze medal in the men’s pole vault, making it up to 4.40m and Birchfield’s Melinda Cooksey qualified for the final of the women’s 60m, running a decent time of 7.65 seconds.

In the other field events, Eloise Newman of Shaftsbury Barnet took the women’s high jump with a height of 1.74m, nine centimetres ahead of nearest competitor Hannah Frith.

Andrew Jones (Shrewsbury) was even more dominant in the men’s long jump.

His best leap, on his fourth attempt, of 7.31m was a full 22cm ahead of the under-23 champion Jamie Blundell, who finished second.

Michael Read took the gold in the men’s pole vault, eventually making it to 4.70m although he came agonisingly close to going even higher as the slightest of touches knocked away the bar.

With most track events finishing on Sunday, the only other event that came to a finish was the 1500m, where Loughborough University’s Frank Baddick took the men’s title and Gloucester AC’s Gemma Turtle took the women’s gold.

Day 2, February 7

KATHERINE Endacott insists her fledgling partnership with former Olympic champion Linford Christie is already paying dividends after completing a golden double at the Birmingham Games in the NIA on Sunday.

Having romped to victory in the 60m on Saturday, the 30-year old doubled up on Sunday, outsprinting Lucy Sargent and Jennie Batten to add the 200m title to her collection.

And having clocked the second fastest British time of the season of 23.85 seconds to take 200m gold, Endacott announced herself as a genuine contender to return to the international scene with the British team at March’s World Indoor Championships in Doha.

And with the Aviva World Indoor Trials in Sheffield just six days away, the City of Plymouth athlete is adamant her new coaching set-up has made the vital difference in 2010.

“Since I’ve been with Linford, everything in my training has changed,” said Endacott, who teamed up with Christie in October 2009.

“He’s helped to make me a lot stronger and I’m training a lot harder in my track sessions.

“The weekend couldn’t have gone any better though I’m really surprised with the way I won the 200m.

“I did three good runs in the 60m yesterday and by doing the same again today my confidence is just going through the roof. I know I’m in good shape now.

“I’m running both 60m and 200m in Sheffield and now I’ve got a week to work on both so watch this space.”

Scottish sprinter Craig Fleming took advantage of the withdrawal of the top two qualifiers Leon Baptiste and Tim Abeyie to win the men’s 200m on Sunday.

British number one Baptiste set the quickest semi-final time of 21.02 secs but his withdrawal left the door open for 22-year old Fleming.

And the Belgrave Harrier admits he’s aiming to use the victory as a ticket to bigger things in 2010.

“I feel I could have run a bit faster but I’ve got to be pleased with how the weekend’s gone,” said Fleming.

“It would be great to get invited to some of the big events coming up this year and this weekend has definitely helped – it’s given me a lot of confidence.”

Meanwhile, there was success for home athletes in the field events in the NIA as Birchfield Harrier Phinehas Stewart struck gold in the men’s high jump.

The 19-year old jumped an indoor personal best of 2.10m on his third attempt to secure first while teammates Ingmar Vos and Onajite Okoro finished sixth and seventh respectively.

Joseph Hylton scored the Harriers only other medal on Sunday, striking bronze in the men’s 60m hurdles while Michelle Thomas and Jade Surman both finished fifth in the women’s 400m and 60m hurdles.

Melinda Cooksey was disqualified from the women’s 200m final after crossing lanes.