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Dwain Chambers allowed to run after legal threat

5 February 2008
www.timesonline.co.uk

Dwain Chambers Dwain Chambers
Dwain Chambers has been given the go-ahead to compete in the Norwich Union World Indoor Trials and National Championships in Sheffield this weekend.

UK Athletics announced they had sanctioned Chambers' participation, with the athlete's Leeds-based solicitors, Ford & Warren, ready to apply for a High Court injunction if he had been refused permission to compete.

Niels de Vos, the UKA chief executive, expressed his disappointment at the outcome of extensive legal deliberations, which have left the sport legally unable to refuse to offer Chambers a place in the 60 metres race on Sunday.

"I believe that the BALCO scandal and the recent imprisonment of Marion Jones have significantly damaged the credibility of athletics as a sport," de Vos, who is determined UKA will pursue a strong anti-doping policy in the future, said. "To maintain the public's full confidence in our athletes and in the sport in general we want to ensure beyond doubt that all athletes wishing to compete under the Union flag are drug-free.

"Our view is that all established athletes must participate in the out-of-competition testing programme for a continuous 12 months prior to competing for GB. Dwain is not in that position. However, we recognise that we do not have sufficiently strong legal grounds to refuse him an invitation given our published invitation policy. Reluctantly therefore, Dwain Chambers has been informed he is permitted to participate."

It is almost certain Chambers will have to win on Sunday to guarantee a place in the world indoor championships in Valencia from March 7-9.

"Subsequent decisions on selection for the world indoors will be made in accordance with UKA's selection policy," De Vos added. "It is, of course, not possible to prejudge, on a hypothetical basis, the outcome of that process.

"UKA have recently announced a full review of policy on doping offenders to ensure that in future all athletes, coaches and supporters will be clear as to the full consequences for those found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs."

Chambers had served a two-year ban after testing positive for designer drug THG and decided to return to athletics after failing in a bid to carve out a new career in American football. He returned to action last weekend where he achieved the qualifying time and won the 60 metres at the Birmingham Games, meaning he was entitled to run in Sheffield under UKA's own selection policy.

Nick Collins, Chambers' solicitor, who would have served the necessary papers to take UKA to the High Court later today had they not given Chambers permission to run, welcomed the decision.

"Both myself and my client are delighted at the him being given the opportunity to compete in the trials on Sunday," Collins said. "We are grateful to Mr de Vos and are looking forward to working with him in the future."



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