Mountain climbing inspired British title, says sprinter Dwain Chambers
Last Updated: 30/06/14 9:09am
Dwain Chambers says a charity mountain ascent helped him to win his fifth successive 100m title at the Sainsburys British championships.
The 36-year-old clocked a season's best of 10.12 seconds in Birmingham on Sunday to edge out the country's crop of young sprinters to secure a spot in the British team for August's European Championships in Switzerland.
Chambers came into the weekend ranked only 10th in the country, with a list of young rivals vying for his crown, headed by 20-year-old Chijindu Ujah, also his training partner, with 9.96secs.
But, with his young family watching from the stands at the Alexander Stadium, Chambers beat them all, edging out Harry Aikines-Aryeetey by 0.02s, with Ujah third in 10.18.
Reflecting on last year's Alpine activities where he scaled the highest peak in the Alps in support of charity Teens Unite after the 2013 season, Chambers, banned for two years for drug use in 2004, said: "I've climbed many mountains, haven't I? And fallen down a few. But I still keep standing.
"Climbing that mountain was for a different cause, but it showed me a lot about myself. That was a lot of pressure. I was scared, because any false slip I was a goner. I had to keep my wits about me. But doing that made me believe and understand that I can do anything.
"I was totally out of my comfort zone, walking 250m up an hour. It normally takes me about 25 seconds to do that. But it was a real test of character for me and it's given me the ability to still come out here and compete."
Even in the absence James Dasaolu, who is still yet to return from a hamstring injury, and Adam Gemili, who focused on the 200m at the British Championships, Chambers would have been pleased with a top-three finish, given the depth of new talent that has emerged this year.
And he admitted, had he failed to perform, his colourful and controversial career would have been all but over.
"Earlier in the season, things weren't going well and, if it didn't go well today, I knew it was done," added Chambers.
"I would have had to seriously review my situation. You could say I was running for my career. I was running for everything. I wanted to still compete this year, I was running for the opportunity to compete."
Aikines-Aryeetey's second place also booked his spot for Zurich, with the likes of Ujah and Dasaolu having to rely on the discretion of the selectors for the third and final spot.
Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson took the long jump title in an outdoor personal best 6.81m and then revealed she was "leaning towards" doing the same event at the Europeans.
The 21-year-old, who won world indoor silver in the long jump in March, can choose between the heptathlon, high jump and long jump.