Byline: NEIL WILSON
DARREN Campbell, the Mr Reliable of British sprinting, won a bronze medal in the 100metres, his team's first at the world championships. But it hardly compensated for the gold that got away from Dwain Chambers.
This world title was there for the taking. Three-time winner Maurice Greene was out in the semi-finals.
world record holder Tim Montgomery was out of form. It was the slowest World Championship final in history and the first in which 10 seconds was not broken in any of the four rounds.
But European champion Chambers, everybody's pre-race favourite, still blew his big chance, just as he had at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester last year when everybody expected him to win.
And who won? You guessed it. Kim Collins, the same slight man from the tiny Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis, who took advantage in Manchester of Chambers cramping under pressure to win his country's first Commonwealth gold, now added its first world title.
Only one-hundredth of a second separated the two men last night, 10.07sec to 10.08sec.
But in the closest final in the Championships' history it was enough to relegate Chambers to fourth behind Trinidadian teenager Darrel Brown, the youngest ever medallist in a global 100m, and Campbell, Chambers' predecessor as European champion.
Chambers did not stay around to analyse what went wrong.
He brushed past television and radio, jumped over the barriers in the Press interview zone and exited as fast as he had run his race.
It was a rerun of the 1998 European Championships when Campbell beat him to the gold and Chambers only slowed down long enough to talk about his disappointment the next morning.
It took Campbell to express his disappointment for him.
He said: 'If I don't win the Olympic 200m next year I'll know how he feels. He'll come back stronger from this year.' Chambers stamped his authority on the contest for the first time in the semiduringfinals, looking commanding with the fastest time of the round of 10.06sec.
Not sensationally quick but neither did it waste energy that would be needed 90 minutes later.