Sunday 19th August 2018 witnessed a return to the track for retired former Olympic sprinter Dwain Chambers as he participated in the inaugural London Masters Grand Prix event held at the prestigious Athletics Track at Lee Valley.
The event itself organised by Masters Athletes Darren Scott, TJ Ossai and Tom Grantham was attended by 200 Masters in search of fast times as they prepare for the World Masters Athletics Championships being held in Spain during the 4th and 16th September, in the sunny town of Malaga, itself will be home to over 8000 athletes during this time with over 800 of them being brits!
The day itself in Lee Valley saw some excellent competitions with several UK records being achieved and valiant attempts of world records for the 4 by 800m relay across several age groups but the highlight of the day was of course the last event, as always at an athletics meet it is the relays that get the crowd going and making some noise, and on Sunday afternoon it was no different!
Following the excitement of several age group teams narrowly missing out on World Records in the long relay it was time for the Blue Ribbon event of the day, the attempt at the record for the M40 4 by 100m, before the event the record stood at 42.20 held by an American team from 2004.
The British Quartet was made up of Jason Carty, Dominic Jon, Mensah Elliot and former Olympian Dwain Chambers. Dwain who had been persuaded into the event by fellow Masters Athlete based at the Lee Valley track TJ Ossai (who himself a multi Masters World Championship Gold Medallist, was unfortunately carrying a small injury ruling him out of the attempt) as a way of highlighting and bringing more attention to the Masters movement. And it is clear the hunger is very much still there for Dwain as he was there doing a full warm up and marking out his zones with industrial tape on the track, and had been practicing change overs during the event build up the previous week.
And so it was time, the team looked to have the win from the very bang of the gun, but was it enough for the record too! As Jason accelerated smoothly around the bend handing over to Dominic clearly already in first place, Dominic proved his own prestige by pulling away further down the back straight, handing over to Mensah for the final bend himself running a great bend to hand over to the ever effervescent Dwain Chambers, showing the training he has acquired over the years as he hit the marks like a pro with smooth acceleration and positive receipt of the baton to see him then glide away from the chasing field down the home straight to take the win and the typical immediate look at the clock….. A WORLD RECORD.
There it was, they had done it, the 4 masters Athletes each from a different background with their own individual stories, some that we know and some that we don’t, but all that came to congregate into one thing on Sunday! A love for the Track and a chase of the glory.
42.17 is the new World Record time for everyone to know and try to now break! And one where you will now see the name Dwain Chambers, a former Olympian in the Masters Records Books…. For the First or Last time? Who knows, but I for one hope its just the first!
Now this little story runs deep obviously for the events of the relay and the inclusion of Dwain Chambers, a name that even now will cause conversation about acceptance, but what can not be denied is the guys love for the sport and his ability, and that he is a Masters World Record Holder. Will we see him at a championship event challenging for a medal? I hope so. But what was clear in every way, this guys has time for fans. As nearly every athlete at the track on Sunday requested pictures and or autographs he stuck around wearing his British masters vest posing with everyone smiling away his usual beam for what seemed like hours.
Dwain, welcome to the addictive and challenging world of Masters Athletics.