Dwain Chambers, the British sprinter on a comeback after a failed NFL career attempt, qualified for the UK National Indoor Championships 60m on Saturday by posting a winning time of 6,60 seconds at the Birmingham Games.
Chambers, 29, who detoured his athletics career in 2007 following a successful – yet controversial – comeback the previous year from a 2003 performance-enhancing drugs bust, has a tougher challenge ahead of him than attempting to win a race featuring a younger, stronger competitor in 21-year-old Craig Pickering, the 2005 European Junior 100m champion.
Chambers may not even make it to the starting blocks now that he's qualified for next weekend's national championships, because UK Athletics, the athletics governing body of Britain, does not want him to compete.
The 60m dash in Sheffield next weekend is the trials run for the IAAF World Indoor Championships, and the winner will be invited to participate next month in Valencia for Great Britain. Chambers, because he has not been on the official drug-testing register for more than a year, runs the risk of being left off the team.
Meanwhile, in Stuttgart yesterday evening, Sweden's Susanna Kallur, the 2006 European Champion and reigning IAAF Indoor 60m hurdles champion, set a new Swedish record in her speciality, running 7,72 seconds – the second-fastest ever run indoors – at the Sparkassan Cup. It was the second time in less than a week the 26-year-old set a new personal best at this distance.
Russian Lyudmila Narozhilenko, who later became a Swedish national, set the world-record of 7,69 seconds in Chelyabinsk, Russia in 1990.
Kallur set her second-consecutive Swedish record this week, having run 7,75 at the Samsung Galan at Scandinavium in Göteborg, Sweden, on Tuesday evening, and broke Lyudmila Engquist's (formerly Nazorzhilenko) previous national mark of 7,80 seconds.
Kallur opened her season with a 7,81 mark in Glasgow two weekends ago.
Kallur, who has had a winter of injury-free training with her twin sister, Jenny, is reaping the rewards of consistency and a more focussed strength and conditioning schedule as she prepares for this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing. She holds a 12,49 second 100m hurdles best outdoors – a mark she achieved last summer in Berlin.
Kallur was injured for three months leading up to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and did not make it past the semi-finals. She also hopes to improve on her fourth-place finish from last season's IAAF World Outdoor Championships 100m hurdles final – a race she was winning until American Michelle Perry, the eventual winner, interfered with Kallur over the final hurdle and impeded Kallur's finishing drive.
The Kallur twins are no strangers to handling success. Their father Anders Kallur, the four-time Stanley Cup winner with the New York Islanders, is their manager. Jenny Kallur is skipping the 2008 indoor season.
In the final news of the hour, Russian André Silnov, the 2006 European Outdoor high jump champion, won his event at the Hochsprung Mit Musik high jump challenge in Arnstadt, Germany, yesterday, clearing 2,37m – the world's highest jump of the season. Stefan Holm, the reigning Olympic champion from Sweden, finished second in 2,35m. Silnov had one attempt at 2,39m and fouled twice at 2,41m.
Only nine other athletes in history have surpassed the 2,40m barrier which Silnov attempted to clear in Arnstadt. Holm is the last athlete who has cleared 2,40m indoors or outdoors since winning the 2003 European Indoor Championships in Madrid, Spain over Russian Jaraslov Rybakov, who finished third in Arstsadt yesterday (2,35m).
Cuban Javier Sotamayor holds the indoor and outdoor world records with jumps of 2,43m and 2,45m, respectively.