Byline: NEIL WILSON
DWAIN CHAMBERS gave Britain's Olympic-bound team a spectacular send-off last night with his second defeat this season of the world's fastest man, Maurice Greene.
Javelin thrower Steve Backley led the departing athletes on a flag-carrying farewell lap of Gateshead Stadium at the conclusion of the Norwich Union Classic, but it was the country's fastest pair of feet which lifted their spirits in a climactic final event.
Two months ago Chambers was contemplating ending his Olympic campaign after finishing last in three out of four races. In Rome in June he was nine places behind Greene. Now, 26 days before the Olympic 100metres final, he was boasting: 'I know I can go to the Olympics capable of winning gold.
'I've beaten Maurice twice now. Maybe he's had his day. Maybe it's time for someone else to take the reins.' It may be unrealistic, perhaps, to come to that conclusion after equalling your season's best of 10.11sec into a slight headwind when Greene ran 9.88sec only three days earlier, but the factor that may tell in Chambers' favour is the weather.
Yesterday in Gateshead, as in Glasgow where Chambers last beat Greene, it was cool to chilly, the conditions which Californianbased sprinters never experience in training and in which Britons must pursue their trade.
And as Australia's world 400m champion Cathy Freeman warned after beating Greene's training partner, world 200m champion Inger Miller, over the distance yesterday: 'This may well be how it will be in Sydney.' Rain, hail and even snow have been known to fall in Australia at this time of year, and the Olympic Stadium has a reputation as a cauldron of swirling winds. Those who can cope with August Bank Holiday weather in Britain will have nothing to fear.
Greene, who lost second place to another of his training partners, Bernard Williams, gave Chambers full credit. 'He ran a great race today and I just didn't have it. But I'll be ready when the time comes.' Chambers owes much of the restoration of the form that won him bronze in last year's World Championships behind Greene to a close study of the world champion.
'I must have run the video of that final through 100 times now, said 21-year-old Chambers. 'I've studied the way Maurice runs, the way he starts, the importance he makes of that part of his race and I've tried to copy what he does.' Greene was happy with his start which confirmed that Chambers' own was remarkable. …