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London Olympics 2012: Dwain Chambers and Adam Gemili are in wonderland after sparkling sprint performances

Chambers and Gemili are in wonderland after sparkling sprint performances

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UPDATED:

21:29 GMT, 4 August 2012

Together they represent the potential future of the sport and its tainted past.

Olympics 2012

But both the fresh innocence of the
smiling 19-year-old Adam Gemili and the more hardened face of Dwain
Chambers received generous welcomes and produced superb performances at
the Olympic Stadium.

Chambers, who received the all-clear
to resume his Olympic career only in April after the British Olympic
Association's lifetime ban on drugs cheats was overturned, made the most
of his reprieve, producing one of his greatest performances since a
two-year ban for using steroids, winning his heat while easing up in
10.02sec.

Promising: Adam Gemili impressed for Team GB

Promising: Adam Gemili impressed for Team GB

Gemili, who was still hoping for a footballing contract at Dagenham and Redbridge in League Two and was on loan at Thurrock in the Isthmian League last autumn, also trod an unlikely route to these Games.

Yesterday he chased home former world record holder Asafa Powell in his heat, the Jamaican running 10.04sec to Gemili's 10.09sec, the Briton qualifying in second.

Neither might have imagined being here in today's semi-finals, where they will be joined by compatriot James Dasaolu, who qualified alongside Usain Bolt, finishing third in 10.13sec.

Warm reception: Dwain Chambers produced one of his best performances

Warm reception: Dwain Chambers produced one of his best performances

Chambers was fourth the last time he stepped on an Olympic track to run in the 100m in Sydney 2000, a result that began to plant the seeds of doubt in his mind and led him down a route that would end up in him taking designer steroids.

He has acknowledged his guilt and is contrite, unlike Americans Justin Gatlin, competing here in the 100m, and LaShawn Merritt, who limped off after 150m of his heat, thus sparing us the indignity of an unrepentant drug cheat winning the 400m.

Chambers said: 'I wasn't worried about the reception. I was more worried about my performance, coming this far and not doing it. The welcome was, “Wow! What's that” I wanted to make sure I did my team, my family and supporters proud.'

London 2012 Olympics: Dai Greene makes peace with Americans

Greene peace! After a winter of disrespect, British hurdler settles row with Americans

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 30 May 2012

Bershawn Jackson has been nicknamed Batman since he was nine.

Something to do with his over-large ears flapping like a cloak when he ran.

Now, because Batman attacked him during a winter of disrespect, world 400metres hurdle champion Dai Greene is known among his training group as The Riddler.

Calm before the storm: Dai Greene is in Rome as his build-up continues

Calm before the storm: Dai Greene is in Rome as his build-up continues

Dai Greene

On Wednesday, when Batman met his nemesis face to face for the first time time since last year’s World Championships, peace was declared, a misunderstanding accepted and Batm

an paid tribute to The Riddler.

‘I feel no ill towards him. He’s a great competitor, the world champion, the best man in the world that day. I have great respect for what he accomplished,’ said Jackson, the 2005 world champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist.

Greene came under attack from Jackson following his perceived criticism of American 400m runner LaShawn Merritt, who will run in London 2012 after completing a drugs ban. But Greene was gracious in response. ‘I have a lot of respect for the Americans in the 400m hurdles. They have been the dominant force in the last 10 to 15 years,’ he said.

So peace has broken out in Gotham City

Greene added: ‘When I first read the story I was obviously a bit disappointed that I’d been misquoted. I don’t want to be seen as the athlete who just slags them off. They’re the most successful nation in the 400m hurdles in recent years. I’m not stupid, I know that. But I don’t come here to make friends.’

Rivals: Bershawn Jackson(left) and Greene will go head to head in London

Rivals: Bershawn Jackson(left) and Greene will go head to head in London

On Thursday night in Rome’s Olympic Stadium the world’s best hurdlers meet for the first time this year — 68 days before the race that matters in London.

Jackson, this year’s No 1 Javier Culson, 2004 Olympic champion Felix Sanchez and world bronze medallist Louis van Zyl are all in the mix, and Greene might as well be wearing a target. He will be clad for the first time in a special black and gold kit that Nike has created exclusively for the world champions they endorse.

Last year Greene came to Rome with the intention of running fast and taking scalps to ‘impose’ himself. He won in 48.24sec but barely improved all year. This year he has been programmed by veteran coach Malcolm Arnold to build more gradually towards a peak in London. Greene said: ‘If they want to run really fast now, that’s fine. This time last year here there was a guy who’d already run 47.66 (Van Zyl) and he finished behind me at the world champs.’

On top of the world: Greene was crowned world champion in Daegu

On top of the world: Greene was crowned world champion in Daegu

Write caption here

Greene’s opener in Rabat last Sunday was timed at 48.96, and he lost to Sanchez. ‘Last year I didn’t improve too much during the season. I’m trying to change that this year. I’m starting off a bit slower, but that should lead, hopefully, to a greater peak at the start of August, when I need to be at my best,’ said Greene.

‘I know if I also don’t win in Rome people will say, “Why hasn’t he won, he’s the world champion”, but that doesn’t really matter. Everyone will remember what happens in London.

‘Times don’t mean too much at this stage of the season, and the winners of these sorts of races are quickly forgotten. I realised that a couple of years ago. No matter how fast I was running outside the majors, it didn’t mean anything until you actually won the medals. When you train in the winter, you don’t think, “Oh, I can’t wait to win in Rome”, or wherever. You think, “I want to win in London at the Olympics”, that’s what gets you through. Everything else is just a stepping stone on the way.’

Best of British: Greene's medal collection is only missing Olympic gold

Best of British: Greene's medal collection is only missing Olympic gold

Greene has won only three races in 13 against Jackson but has beaten Culson in seven out of 12 and Van Zyl in eight out of 13. What matters to all of them is that one of those Greene wins was in the World Championships.

Rome sees a turn-out of many of Britain’s Olympic medal contenders. World Indoor triple jump champion Yamile Aldama competes where she set a stadium record of 15.29m in 2003, when she was a stateless athlete.

Tiffany Porter, a winner in Ostrava last Friday, hurdles against Olympic champion Dawn Harper, and joint British long jump record holders Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson face Olympic and world silver medallist Godfrey Mokoena.

London 2012 Olympics Watch: Janet Evans rolling back the years

London 2012 Olympics Watch: Golden oldie Evans rolling back the years

Janet Evans, a swimming triple gold medallist at the 1988 Olympics, has qualified for the US Olympic Trials at 400 metres freestyle, five months after her 40th birthday.

The mother of two and former world record holder returned to competition in June after 15 years in retirement. She also hopes to make the US Trials in the 800m.

Life begins at 40: Evans qualifies for the US Olympic trials

Life begins at 40: Evans qualified for the US Olympic trials

Meb on a mission

Meb Keflezighi, 36, the Eritrean-born 2004 Olympic silver medallist, won the US Olympic marathon trial in Houston, the first marathoner to return to their team after an eight-year gap.

Fagan faces ban

One US-based marathoner who will not be in London is Martin Fagan, Ireland’s only Olympic representative in 2008. He has tested positive for the drug EPO and faces a disciplinary hearing.

McLaren in charge

Richard McLaren, who chaired the Court of Arbitration for Sport panel that overturned the IOC’s ban on LaShawn Merritt, will chair the panel deciding the legality of the BOA’s life bans.