Lewis-Francis silver upstages Chambers
BRITAIN’S Mark Lewis-Francis snatched a shock silver and upstaged team-mate Dwain Chambers as rising French star Christophe Lemaitre stormed to 100m gold at the European Championships in Barcelona.
Lemaitre, 20, who last month became the first white man to break the 10-second barrier, produced a blistering final 30m to finish in 10.11 seconds, with Lewis-Francis and Chambers among a group of four who recorded the same time of 10.18.
The photo finish saw Lewis-Francis, the forgotten man of British sprinting, handed second place but Chambers, who arrived as one of the favourites and led for part of the race, ended a hugely disappointing fifth.
Another Frenchman, Martial Mbandjock, took bronze, while defending champion Francis Obikwelu, of Portugal was fourth.
Lewis-Francis, 27, lost his lottery funding last year after failing to recover top form following injury, was only named in the team last week and scraped into the final as one of the fastest third-place finishers in the semi-finals.
“I got to the final on a lucky star and I got to these championships on a lucky star,” said the 2004 Olympic 4×100 gold medal winner, now trained by Linford Christie. “I think 2010 is my year I am the happiest man in the world. I said I’d take fourth place before the final and I ended up with second.”
Chambers had longed for gold, having lost his prize for winning at the 2002 European Championship after admitting to doping. At 32, he now looks unlikely to win a major international outdoor medal.
“You can’t win them all. I just did the best I could,” said Chambers. “Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but I’m happy for Mark.”
Earlier British pair Martyn Rooney and Michael Bingham booked their places in tomorrow’s 400m final.