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Urged to spill the beans

15 August 2006

Darren Campbell Darren Campbell
By Andy Hampson

Darren Campbell insists he has no personal issues with Dwain Chambers despite his anger at losing two championship medals following his team-mate's drugs ban.

On Sunday, Campbell refused to join Chambers and the rest of Great Britain's 4x100m relay team on a lap of honour after winning gold at the European Championships, claiming it was "inappropriate".

The 32-year-old had been unhappy at the inclusion of Chambers in the team in Gothenburg following the completion of his two-year ban for doping.

A Britain team that included Campbell were stripped of their 2002 European gold just six weeks ago following Chambers' admission he was using designer steroid THG as far back as those championships.

The team had already lost their 2003 world silver medals after Chambers returned a positive test the following year.

Campbell felt it would have been hypocritical to celebrate with Chambers, who he now feels has a duty to expose the people who introduced him to performance-enhancing substances.

Campbell said: "It is not a personal attack on Dwain. I made it very clear from the outset I don't think Dwain was solely accountable."

"He was taken to America and got embroiled in something. He owes it to the sport to expose them."

"If he came out and helped the sport and made sure no-one else got involved in that situation, how could I not respect him for rectifying his error?"

Campbell, a member of the Olympic-winning relay team two years ago, admits that as he felt so strongly he could have chosen not to run altogether but does not feel he should have denied himself another medal.

He added: "At the end of it all I will never, ever get those two medals back but I will always do my best for my country."

"Everyone that knows me knows that I am full of morals but for the first time in my life I was in a situation I did not know how to handle."

"It was a situation where to do it was to lose another medal. I honestly believe if I hadn't have run we wouldn't have won the gold medal. I did what I did but then I didn't then do the lap of honour. Not doing the lap of honour was the hardest decision of my career."

Campbell also denied he had a problem with another member of the team, Mark Lewis-Francis, and was happy to shake his hand along with that of Marlon Devonish.

Lewis-Francis failed a drugs test for cannabis last year but avoided a ban after successfully claiming he had not taken the drug deliberately. He said: "He went through bad times. I am proud of Mark Lewis-Francis because he kept his nerve and kept his head and brought us home to the gold medal."

Campbell revealed that he took a break from athletics earlier in his career because of the disgust he felt after being offered drugs.

He said: "The first time I was offered drugs was when I was 21 and I retired from the sport."

"I never told anyone why, but that is why. I didn't want anything to do with it. That is why I played football."

"That was my decision. It is one of the subjects in life that is close to my heart and I don't want young athletes getting involved in those circles."

Campbell also dismisses suggestions that his stance is hypocritical because he is coached by former Olympic champion Linford Christie.

Christie tested positive for nandrolone after retiring from the sport.

"If I honestly believed Linford Christie was a cheat, Linford Christie would not be my coach," Campbell added.

"Everybody needs to take the glasses off and look at the facts regarding Linford Christie."

"Linford Christie tested positive for nandrolone competing in a competition two years after he retired."

"He was there to wave at the crowd. If he hadn't been there to wave to the crowd he wouldn't have got involved in this problem."

Campbell is now expected to announce his retirement in the coming days. He is travelling to Beijing to work with young athletes at the World Junior Championships this week and will reveal his decision in due course.

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