Dwain Chambers admitted emotions had to be “put to one side” as he prepared to compete in his first relay for Great Britain for six years.
The last time Chambers ran a relay leg for Britain came in the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2006, when team-mate Darren Campbell refused to share a lap of honour with the former drugs cheat despite combining to win gold in the 4x100 metres.
Although Chambers continued to compete as an individual, the fact that he was barred from the Olympics meant he was not considered for future relay squads in the build up to Beijing and now London.
But with that Olympic ban lifted last month, Chambers is back in the fold and was due to race alongside Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Mark Lewis-Francis and James Ellington in tonight’s Diamond League meeting in Rome.
Asked if he had received support from his relay team-mates, Chambers said: “I’ve been in contact with them and we’ve seen each other at the trials and grand prix meetings, so we talk.
“It hasn’t been easy, but for the sake of what we’re trying to achieve with the relay team we’ve all had to put emotions to one side. I think over time we’ll build up our relationships and we’ve just got to do our best as a team to get a medal.
“It’s going to take a bit of time. It’s going to be tough because there are great athletes out there in Britain and only four can make the team.”
Chambers insists he is not certain of his place in the squad, adding: “I’m still one of many members of the relay squad who have to fight for a position. There’s a lot of up and coming talent out there that’s fighting for the same spot as I am.
“There are probably about nine athletes who can fit into only four places in the relay team. All I can do is do the best I can when the practice sessions are organised and try to fight for a position.”
More than a dozen other British athletes were also due to compete in Rome, with world champion Dai Greene taking on American Bershawn Jackson in the 400m hurdles and Perri Shakes-Drayton contesting the women’s race.
World indoor triple jump champion Yamile Aldama, Robbie Grabarz (high jump), Goldie Sayers (javelin), Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson (long jump) and Jo Pavey (5,000m) were all in action, with Emma Jackson also taking on former world champion Caster Semenya in the 800m.
World record holder Usain Bolt takes on fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell in the 100m and will be looking to bounce back from his poor run in Ostrava last Friday.