Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

DWAIN CHAMBERS (August 2012)

(Also some comments by my 'Great' friend the late Peter Hildreth. Peter wrote a separate Chapter 15 to add to the to Dwain Chambers autobiography 'My story' -Race Against Me'
Some extracts are here with my interview and article.)

Dwain Chambers (Born London 5th of April 1978)
He achieved gold medals at the World Indoor Championship at Doha in 2010 and European Indoors over the same distance of 60m in Turin in 2009. He ran a World Class 100m time of 9.97 back in 2009 in Seville when he obtained a bronze medal in the World Championships and before that he cracked the 10.00 barrier with a 9.97 'Wind assisted' and a 9.9 at Edmonton in the World Championships 2001.. He was a gold medallist in the 4x100 UK team in the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2006. In 2001, at Crystal Palace in the Grand Prix, he ran his fastest 200m time of 20.31.
   In January 2002 Dwain Chambers made a serious error of judgement when he succumbed to peer pressure and temptatation and took a performance enhancing substance. Dwain came clean, held up his hands and admitted his offence. Then his income fell front six figures per anum to nil and he had to pay 18 months of athletics prize money back when he admitted the time scale of his abuse. A two year ban was imposed. He also had a British Olympic ban which was not overturned in 2012 by legislation from the International Federation and he was able then to compete in the London Olympics.
        Besides some high ranking people in athletics officialdom, there were several Major Championship 'Stars' now retired from competing in 'Sport' who said vehemently he should not be reinstated as an Olympic athlete, even though he went on to earn his place on the UK London Olympic team.
To that one might add, after I talked to Peter Hildreth at length - (Even though one important athletics magazine Editor thought Peter's views were extreme!)-.  the following quote from the Bible John 6-7 could be applicable to some of those against him competing!
               "Let He who is without Sin cast the first stone"
Peter Hildreth was a BBC commentator, athletics writer and Olympic 110 hurdles Semi-finalist in the 1952 Olympics and achieved a  bronze in the European of 1950 and he kept a thick scrap book of  investigations into various drug situations in sport World Wide and had a strong stance against them being taken. However, he  commented in Chapter 15 of Dwain Chambers autobiography '  My Story--'Race Against Me'
1. Peter Hildreth:- " Dwain Chambers opened his mouth pretty wide too when winning a race. His mouth was not as big as Ali's, but like 'The Greatest' he hoped for lasting fame. Dwain's hopes were dashed when he was banned for drugs, but I felt a certain respect for him because he did not shrink from going on record with the hard truth"
2. Peter Hildreth " An Un-named --Soviet Coach told a newsman from the New York Times  " I feel sorry for Ben Johnson. All Sportsman---not all, but maybe ninety percent, including our own --use drugs."
3. Peter Hildreth who was the athletics correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph for some years said:-
" Common sense tells us that if there is something that makes a big difference, people hoping to be seriously competitive at the business end of international sport can't possibly afford to leave it out, not because they want to steel an advantage but because they don't want to look like amateurs in a professional arena."
   When I talked to Dwain Chambers at the Hilton Hotel , Croydon in July of 2012 I found him sincere and an engaging personality----Alastair Aitken...
                     "I always had the instinct to run when I was a child. That was something that I always did growing up, in school and in the parks. My first international was when in 1994 when I was about 14/15 years old.Since that point I have never looked back. I always had the ability to run but I did not know sprinting was going to be my life
That came apparent to me at 33 years old (He is 34 now).'
' It took me a long time to acknowledge that. I had an ability to run and that I could use it to, not only better myself as an individual but also to use it to channel me to help me inspire young children, that is what running has done for me.'
   Ron Roddan told me that the reason Linford Christie suddenly became so good at an older age was because he did not take it at all seriously in his early years then really quite suddenly decided at an older age to dedicate himself to it.
   " I can relate to that. I guess I have gone through many different changes which are well documented. My experiences have taught me the core values of life. Have the ability not to take it for granted, which I did for a long, time. I had an ability to run. I was getting a lot of sponsorship but at no point did I take it seriously, it was only till I lost it all and became responsible as a Father that I realised that I have got an ability I should be using properly."
   "You appear to me you have a happy go lucky disposition really but are very tough when you compete, with that in mind being in the Olympic Final in Sydney must have been very special to you?.
   (September 2000- Sydney 1 Maurice Greene (USA) 9.87; 2 Ato Boldon (Tri) 9.99; 3 Obadele Thompson (BAR) 10.04; 4 Dwain Chambers (GBR) 10.08, 5 Jon Drummond (USA) 10.09; 6 Darren Campbell (GBR) 10.13;7 Kim Collins (SKN) 10.17. Abdul Aziz Zakari GH dnf.)
   " It was my first Olympics and almost my last. I missed Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 notably for reasons of my own misfortune for my wrong actions so the dream of coming to the London Olympics was something I never imagined was going to happen'
  Memories of those Olympics in Sydney
" I have great memories because  I realised this was the pinnacle of what sport was about. All the Championships you go to leading up to the Olympics--The World Championships, Commonwealth, European were stepping stones for the 'Big Stage' and to participate in the Sydney Olympics was an amazing experience for me. A dream come true. At no point did I take what I was doing seriously. At that tender age you just take things for granted. Living in the World full of confidence not really acknowledging what is going on in your life. After  experiencing  Sydney I wanted more. I have been taught in life to be careful what you wish for. Obviously I wanted more and ignored my natural ability which obviously came with my exclusion from the sport and then had to go through a process of trying to rebuild myself
and that took time. I had to rebuild as an individual."
You must have got terrific satisfaction to win the Olympic Trials 100m this year as you have had so many setbacks prior to it?. (First six of 8:-Birmingham June 2012- (-0-1) 1 Dwain Chambers (Belg) 10.25; 2 Adam Gemili (B&B) 10.29; 3 James Dasaolu (Croy)  10.31;  4 Simeon Williamson (Highgate) 10.33; 5 Christian Malcolm (Cardiff) 10.39;6 Mark Lewis-Francis (Bir) 10.44.)
   " Yes, but if you  look at it historically I have always done well in 'National' trials even with the major problems that were facing me.This one was no different from the other one's . It just meant I was stepping that much closer to go to the Olympic Games.. I am eligible and even though earned my position outright, in my opinion I have still to go forward and go through the rounds. You can do all the great stuff, run well in the season qualify for the Games, get your uniform, get your kit, go on the camps but nothing matters if you don't get to that Final, in my opinion, and that is how I operate as an individual. For me achievement would be to then get into the Final and then anything can happen.'
   Are there people in the sport you admired that have helped you along the way.
' There are a number of athletes who have always been supportive. Mark Lewis Francis. Some athletes who are currently competing to this day. My main one's have been Christian Malcolm and Kim Collins and there have been other athletes who have shown support.Those two have really been a rock in my career. It means a lot as, without them I would have felt quite lonely. Quite a lonely period. Those two have always remained like solid rocks in the ground for me and I am not ignoring that there were others out there. There were tons of other athletes out there. I had 'Great' support from my fans who followed me through my ups and downs and they were there for me more on the downs than the up--My wife Leonie Daley--Chambers now as we are married. My four children. .No matter what with all the mayhem going on outside when I get into my house and close my door they are the solid foundations. I will always hold on to them. It's been rocky, friends and supporters have been fantastic, They have always stood by me and being honest about my situation helps!
   You run for Belgrave and a friend of mine from my club is Simeon Williamson who often wears the Highgate Harriers vest proudly. How about you with Belgrave?
   " Very proud.It is a club that has been loyal to me and even through my hard times and Sir Eddie Kulukundis is one who has helped me out, when I first started out as an athlete, so I have a great debt of gratitude towards him."
  It appears the more you are put back the more determined  you are to go forward!
   " That is it.  Sport in itself goes beyond running on the track, wearing a track suit. That is a great honour and all athletes should worship that and honour that but in sport takes you-- It has a great value outside of sport in general. I talk to a lot of children about using sport as a motivation and a guidance.It can teach you lot obout determination and focus but not all youngsters are going to be athletes. What they do gather from sport, they can take outside of  sport and nurture into their everyday life. What I have learnt in sport has enabled me to stand firm outside of sport when I eventually retire and use that as an example and a platform for young children.'
   ' I love what I do. In order to be the best at what you do you have to love what you do, and no matter what I was going through I still loved it, even more now because I am given it back.I threw that away and now I have realised now the errors of my ways I want to make amends and build as many bridges as I can. Those I can I will enjoy crossing back and forth over those bridges.'
   Do you train a lot over 150m
" In the Winter I do over distance, maybe up to 400. In a speed base I will do a lot of jogging and mileage in the Winter as well. I tend to run about 3 miles on Sunday's . That is what I enjoy doing. Its therapeutic-Frees the mind. I like going out and looking at different scenery.That is how I am.getting in touch with nature. As much as you want to look, we are of this earth. It brings energy to me.'
  Life is going past so fast!
" It is. Sometimes in life you have to slow down. Again as a youngster I used to live life in the fast lane and missed many doors of opportunity. I have still got the energy for being fast on the track but I realised from the interim of it I can be fast on the track. Outside of the track I have got to learn to slow my pace down and go through all doors of opportunity to see what is right for me and what it wrong for me. I have learnt a lot in life and use my experiences wisely now to help benefit me now in what, in my opinion will be the best years of my career.'
 At 34 you still have got a few years when you can compete well!
 " As a youngster I was in the 'Prime of my Youth' now ' I am in the ' Prime of my Adulthood'  so this is where you often find as European sprinters that we perform at our best.Yamile Aldama the British triple jumper is 40 now competing at her best. .Look at Merlene Ottey-she is 51 and still nearly as good as her best and looks in fantastic shape. You have got Linford Christie who ran well at 38 years old, Colin Jackson the same so there is no limit on what you can do.'
   "I have been grounded and humbled by my experiences but. I have had wonderful experiences and still got more to come."

Alastair Aitken

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