The familiar broad smile was there, so too the trademark swagger and – as he proudly displayed by pulling his vest up to reveal – a six-pack that would not look out of place in a bodybuilding contest. But, after a false-start had dashed his hopes of earning another British vest on Saturday at the age of 40, Dwain Chambers admitted he felt “like a fossil that’s been resurrected” by coming out of retirement to compete at these British Indoor Championships.
As time goes on, he may well kick himself at this missed opportunity. Despite originally calling time on his career 18 months ago, the stars seemed to be aligning for Chambers’ unlikely quest to gain a spot at next month’s Glasgow European Indoor Championships.
With almost all of Britain’s leading sprinters opting to skip the indoor season, Chambers’ route to success looked to have been made even easier when pre-event favourite Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake unexpectedly bombed out in the heats at the Arena Birmingham. Suddenly the idea of Chambers, who returned from a two-year doping ban in 2006, earning a first British vest for five years began to surpass the realms of possibility and enter that of probability.
Then, having eased through his earlier heat, he jumped the gun in a semi-final that would go on to be won in a time slower than that which Chambers’ had achieved last December in what had been his first race for more than a year.