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Chambers confession set to wipe out past triumphs

12 December 2005

Dwain Chambers Dwain Chambers
Punished for his dishonesty, Dwain Chambers will next be penalised for his honesty. So, too, will his Great Britain team-mates. The world governing body will ask today for a copy of the tape in which Chambers admitted to taking drugs for at least a year before he was caught. The probable outcome will hit Britain’s results book hard.

Istvan Gyulai, the secretary of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), indicated yesterday that he expected all of Chambers’s results to be annulled from the earlier period during which he confessed to taking drugs. It covers 2002, when Chambers won the European 100 metres title in Munich.

At the same championships, Britain took the 4 x 100 metres relay gold medal, with Chambers in the team. Britain also look likely to be stripped of the European Cup, which they won by four points in Annecy, France, in 2002. Chambers’s 100 metres victory was worth eight points.

It would be the second medal loss for the innocent members of Britain’s relay squad after Chambers was found to be taking tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), a designer steroid, at the time of the 2003 World Championships in Paris. As a consequence, he and his team-mates were stripped of their 4 x 100 metres silver medal.

Chambers, who is planning a comeback for early next year, having completed a two-year ban, has surprised with the maturity of his confession over the weekend. Not only has he admitted to something he had no need to confess to, he blamed nobody but himself and has apologised.

“I put the sport in jeopardy, and I caused an uproar, and I am very sorry for that fact,” Chambers said. Victor Conte, the owner of the laboratory at the centre of the Balco scandal, who supplied Chambers and other sportsmen and women with drugs, and who is now serving a four-month jail sentence, is not held responsible.

“There is nobody else I can blame for the simple reason that I made those decisions to go forward as I did,” he said. He went to the United States to be coached by Remi Korchemny, a Ukrainian, who introduced him to Conte in January 2002.

“I took THG but I did not know what THG was or what its gains and benefits were,” Chambers said. “I started taking it when I went to America. I went into the situation blind. I did not ask any questions.” Conte, Chambers said, had offered “to help me nutritionally”.

Motivated to return by the need to earn a living and the thrill of competing, Chambers appears to have chosen to admit to earlier drug taking to prevent his family suffering from further damaging revelations. “I have grown up in that I have become a father and I cannot afford to put my family in jeopardy,” he said.

The case of Chambers, 27, bears similarities with that of Ben Johnson, who was stripped of the Olympic 100 metres title in 1988 after testing positive for drugs. Johnson later confessed to taking drugs earlier in his career and was stripped of the world record that he set in 1987.

Under IAAF rules, admitting to taking drugs carries the penalty of loss of titles, awards, medals, points and prize- money during the relevant period. “So I think it is absolutely clear,” Gyulai said of the likely consequences of Chambers’s admission. First, though, he added, IAAF anti-doping and legal experts would study the tape of the interview that Chambers gave to the BBC.

On the potential loss of honours, Chambers said: “If they want to take that away from me, then fine.” If his 2002 results are annulled, the European title would pass to Francis Obikwelu, from Portugal, and Chambers would lose his share of the British record of 9.87sec, which would return to Linford Christie’s sole ownership.

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