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Dwain's ready for a fun run.

Byline: By David Maetin

Dwain Chambers is adamant he can forget the past and reproduce his world-class form on his return to Great Britain duty in Malaga today.

He said yesterday: "After the pressure of what I've had to deal with this last two-and-a-half years, this is fun for me."

The disgraced sprinter will wear Norwich Union GB team colours for the first time since returning from a two-year drugs suspension when he competes at the SPAR European Cup.

Chambers, the slate wiped clean after serving his punishment and resolving repayments of prize money received during his period of drug abuse, is confident he can re-establish himself at global level.

The 28-year-old Londoner admits life has not been easy since failing an out-of-competition test for the designer drug tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) on August 1, 2003 and being sidelined.

Chambers makes no secret of the enormity of his offence and damage to personal reputation which has caused him health problems and wrecked what had been a valued lifestyle.

Now the runner, who on Thursday was stripped of the 2002 European 100m title and a share in the UK record, is convinced he can again reach the top echelon.

Indeed, a clocking of 10.07secs just over a fortnight ago at Gateshead in his first race since his ban expired last November, showed he can be successful. His effort at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix saw him top the European rankings, as he came third behind Asafa Powell, who equalled his world record of 9.77secs.

But Chambers believes his performance, while extremely nervous, gives a clear sign there is more to come and he can again become one of the world's best sprinters.

"I've got the experience and that's what stays with me," he said after an about-turn saw him agreeing to speak with the media before the two-day meeting in Malaga. He insisted: "That's all that matters to me. I believe I can do it again. I've been there once, and as I said, I believe I can do it again. That's good enough for me."

Chambers' return after what was a blatant cheating offence has, despite its seriousness, not aroused much criticism that he should have been banned for life.

Many athletes, in particular Paula Radcliffe, firmly believe in life bans.

But she said at the weekend Chambers deserved one more chance because of his honesty in confessing he had cheated longer than at first realised. Now Chambers intends to accept that second chance, although he knows because of the enormity of his offence, he will always remain in the public spotlight for the wrong reasons.

"Can you imagine yourself being out of work for two-and-a-half years not earning any money whatsoever and watching time fly by? That's what it was for me," he said.

"I just had to keep my determination and my head focused as much as possible. "I'm now every bit confident, based on my performance in Gateshead two weeks ago. It just proves all the hard work and determination I've kept during that period, has actually paid off.

Chambers is relishing wearing a British vest with the men's team expected to challenge for top honours while the newly-promoted women's team face a tough fight to retain their Super League status.

"It's been a long time out of the sport and the regime of competition, so for me it's great to be back and a great feeling," he said.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 28, 2006
Words:573
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