The Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) ruling against the British Olympic Association's (BOA) policy of lifetime bans for serious doping offenders has polarised opinion within British sporting circles.

The BBC pundit and former world 110 metres hurdles champion Colin Jackson says he has "no doubt" that Dwain Chambers (pictured top and below), who served a two-year doping ban, will now be part of the British Olympic team in London.

"Dwain is in the top tier of sprinters in our country," he told BBC Sport.

"There is no doubt that he will be at the Olympics."

Jackson added: "Fans are used to him being in the team so already he has been accepted and it has no relevance to the other athletes."

But Jackson could not be more wrong. It is clearly of relevance to many athletes and former athletes.

European and Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion Andy Turner tweeted:  "Either make lifetime ban for drug cheats worldwide or scrap it completely.

"The world won't follow Britain's rules so I'm happy 4 Dwain.

"I know my opinion will annoy people but I don't care.

"I see convicted drug cheats competing on the world stage all the time"

Chambers was Britain's fastest 100m runner in 2011 and the 33-year-old won bronze in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships in Turkey last month.

Fellow British sprinter Tyrone Edgar has welcomed the possibility of Chambers running at this year's Olympics.

Edgar was part of the relay squad at the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Championships, where Britain won bronze.

"Good news we can now have D," he said on Twitter.

"Chambers in our 4x100m for Olympic Games.

"We need all our big guns running if we gonna win a medal in London."

Daniel Caines, the former world indoor 400m champion and past Olympian, also tweeted in favour of Chambers and others affected by the latest ruling: "Anyone else wanna argue lol... goalposts need to be the same for everyone.

"Let's all change the record and wish the athletes well."

Chambers' friend and Team GB team-mate, Christian Malcolm, said: "He has served his time now."

Malcolm, the 2010 European silver and Commonwealth bronze medallist, paid a considerable personal price for Chambers' cheating.

The 32-year-old and Chambers made up half the GB 4x100m relay team, also including Darren Campbell and Marlon Devonish, that raced to silver at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.

But the British quartet had its medals taken away as a consequence of anchor-leg runner Chambers testing positive for a banned substance six months later.

"When he first failed the drug test I was the first person he called," Malcolm told the BBC Sport Wales TV programme.

"But what I heard in his voice was the disappointment and the fear.

"I was angry at him but I knew he was hurting and needed me.

"He came to stay with me for six to eight weeks during that period to get away from the media.

"He apologised and we had our discussions, and I have forgiven him for what he has done."

Malcolm, hoping to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games in London, added: "He was misled at the time.

"He was young, vulnerable and has learned from a hard mistake.

"Dwain has a good heart but went through a stupid period in his life where he was naive.

"There should be redemption and I like to see drug cheats come back because I like to see what they can do without the drugs.

"Are they really talented enough to perform well or did the drugs help them?

"If they come back without the drugs in their system and don't do well, that is a real punishment."


Kriss Akabusi, the former European 400m hurdles champion, writing on www.akabusi.com, said he was not in favour of the BOA life ban.

"I do not hold that view, and like Jonathan Edwards [Sydney 2000 Olympic champion and world record holder for the triple jump], I do believe in a world of second chances – but we are very much in the minority.

"Chambers has paid a very heavy price socially and economically, and shown enough contrition and remorse to be given a second chance in life full stop, in my humble opinion."

Akabusi's old training partner Roger Black, twice European 400m champion and Atlanta 1996 Olympic silver medallist, disagrees, and his views have been backed by numerous competitors within British sport.

Black told the BBC: "It's a sad day.

"It's hard to cheer someone on who's purposefully tried to cheat other athletes.

"I'm not going to boo him, I'm just going to be indifferent."

He added: "I like Dwain – I think he's remorseful, but it's easy to be remorseful when you're caught out.

"He didn't have to do it in the first place, because most of us didn't."

World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, in a message retweeted by Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton, said: "So now the biggest deterrent in our sport for cheating other athletes yourself and the public is two years."

Sotherton herself tweeted: "2nd chances/forgiveness... all the sports people who have been cheated out of medals etc can have that too, sadly no, who supports them? Me."

Gail Emms, Olympic silver medallist in the mixed doubles badminton at Athens 2004, was another to tweet: "100m final could be interesting for commentators. Lane 1 – haven't seen him for a few yrs cos of drugs ban. Oh yeah, same for lanes 3 and 7!!

"Sometimes the 'British' attitude to sport annoys me, but today I was proud that our Britishness stood up to the world over drugs in sport.

"People can have 2nd chances. But, for me, their 2nd chance should not be in an Olympics.

"Wrong actions need consequences otherwise why bother??!!"

Emms' partner in Athens, Nathan Robertson, was of the same opinion, calling the decision "disgraceful", and added: "Terrible day for British sport... so now our very own British rules and standards mean nothing!

"For those who believe people should get a 2nd chance, performance enhancing drugs help athletes forever not just when they are on them!"

Steve Backley, four-times European champion and former world javelin record holder, reacted by tweeting: "The British vest was devalued with this news.

"WADA: overly reasonable people policing the unreasonable; fairness offered to the grossly unfair. The world's gone soft."

Former European champion swimmer Steve Parry also added his voice to Twitter: "Sad day for Olympic sport.

"Cheats from any and all nations should not be allowed to compete in the Games.

"Well done @BOA for having a go!"

British winter Olympian Kristan Bromley tweeted: "I am totally dismayed at the Dwain Chambers ban lift!

"I remember watching an interview on BBC before he was caught when he lied to us all."

Even Piers Morgan, former Daily Mirror editor, had an opinion: "Oh great," he tweeted.

"Drugs cheats have had their lifetime bans overturned and can represent GB at the Olympics, how heart-warming."

-Mike Rowbottom

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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