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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Devonish welcomes Chambers return
By Sarah Holt

Dwain Chambers and Marlon Devonish
Chambers and Devonish won European relay gold together
Marlon Devonish says he is happy Dwain Chambers is back from a two-year drugs ban - even though Chambers has denied him the British number one spot.

Chambers returned to the track in the 100m in Gateshead last weekend and ran 10.07 to leap straight to the top of the British rankings ahead of Devonish.

Devonish told BBC Sport: "I have no animosity towards Dwain.

"He will always have the tarnish of being a drugs cheat but he has proved he is running clean now."

UK performance director Dave Collins has said he will not rush Chambers' return to the Great Britain squad.

However, the 28-year-old's performance in Gateshead puts him in pole position for selection for the European Cup in Malaga at the end of the month.

Collins will hold his selection meeting next Monday before announcing the team on 20 June but Devonish insists there are no hard feelings if Chambers is selected at his expense.

"Having Dwain back will spur me on because he is another athlete who is capable of beating me and I will rise to the challenge and run quicker," said Devonish, who ran 10.16 in Gateshead.

"I would love to run in the 100m at the European Cup for Britain but if Dwain gets selected, then so be it.

"If we are going to give Dwain a chance then it cannot be a half-hearted chance. You cannot say, 'OK - you've run a quick time but you cannot go the championships.'

"Dwain has served his time, learnt his lesson and deserves a second chance."

Relay team-mates

Devonish and Chambers came up through the British rankings together and have known each other since they competed on the junior circuit.

The pair also regularly joined forces on Britain's sprint relay team.

However, Devonish was later stripped of the World silver relay medal he won with Chambers, Christian Malcolm and Darren Campbell in 2003 after Chambers tested positive for the steroid THG.

Devonish, who accompanied Chambers to the Gateshead track on Sunday, insists their relationship remains the same despite Chambers' suspension from the sport for breaking the doping regulations.

"I have known Dwain for a long time," Devonish said.

Dwain and his success would have happened without the doping

Marlon Devonish

"There are other athletes I'm closer to, but if I see Dwain then we sit down, talk, have a laugh - that has not changed.

"I know Dwain has taken drugs but we don't talk about it, that's in the past.

"I think he got involved with the wrong people and made some bad decisions but he has had to pay for them."

Devonish believes that part of Chambers' punishment has been the opportunities he has missed out on since he was suspended in November 2003.

In the last two years, Devonish has seen his profile rise after he captured a stunning Olympic 4x100m gold alongside Mark Lewis-Francis, Campbell and Gardener while Chambers tried and failed to make a new career in American football.

"Dwain must look back and think if he hadn't got involved in drugs then he could have been part of the relay team," said Devonish.

"So many things have happened to me and the guys, we have had so many experiences that he has missed.

"I wasn't surprised Dwain was able to run 10.07 in his first race back because he ran those sorts of times as a junior and he wasn't taking anything then.

"The one thing I know is that Dwain and his success in 100m would have happened sooner rather than later without the doping, if only he had been patient."

Collins ponders choosing Chambers
12 Jun 06 |  Athletics
Powell equals 100m world record
11 Jun 06 |  Athletics
No quick fix for sprinters - Cram
23 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games


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