Report03 Jul 1999

Bailey Panics as Chambers excels


Donovan Bailey, training in December 1997 (© Getty Images)

Former 100 metres world record holder Donovan Bailey slumped to another disappointing defeat as he attempts to come back after rupturing his Achilles tendon here at the IAAF Grand Prix II event on Saturday but vowed that he would be back to near his best in a month's time.

The 31-year-old Canadian Olympic champion, whose old mark of 9.84 was destroyed by American arch-rival Maurice Greene in Athens last month with a devastating 9.79 run, finished eighth of nine but slumped to the ground afterwards somewhat surprisingly smiling.

"That's probably the worst race I've ever run," the personable Canadian said. "I'm not feeling really good at the moment, especially coming out of the blocks and my acceleration is terrible.

"A lousy start and then I panicked halfway through the race. It don't come much worse than that.

"However, I will be a whole lot better in a month's time. I'm going through a transitional period and these are two things that I've been working on.

"I'm not worried because I'm a two-time Olympic champion (including the 4x100 relay) and will be looking positively towards Sydney," he added.

The former management consultant, who ruptured his Achilles last September while playing basketball with friends and returned to action last month, still has the 2000 Olympics as his overall objective although he is keen to regain his world crown off Greene in Seville in August.

A full recovery is not impossible as former East German sprint queen Marlies Gohr and Cuban legend Alberto Juantorena both came back successfully after rupturing their Achilles.

Chambers again showed the in-depth strength of British sprinting when winning the 100metres in 10.12sec.

Less than 24 hours after Jason Gardener ran 9.98 in Lausanne to displace Chambers by moving to second place behind Linford Christie on the European all-time list, Chambers scored a success over a very talented field which also included 1997 world 100 metres bronze medallist Tim Montgomery.

Chambers was slowish out of his blocks but once into his stride finished 0.01seconds ahead of Ghana's Leonard Myles-Mills and Mitchell.

Although he hoped he might better the sub-10secs barrier for the second time, victory was adequate compensation for Chambers.

Last year's European silver medallist said: "A lot of talent has suddenly sprung out, and I think we're going to have a good British team in future years.

"This was a very compact field, and I was a little nervous with Bailey and others of his ability present. I'd like to have run faster, but it is still a good win in the build-up to the world championships.

"I'm very happy with my run. Jason put pressure on me by winning yesterday. I was shocked when I saw it on the television and couldn't believe it. But it just made me more determined."

AFP for the IAAF

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