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Dwain Chambers drug row prompts rethink

8 February 2008

Dwain Chambers Dwain Chambers
Niels de Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics, has vowed to restructure the sport’s selection policy in the wake of the drug row surrounding British sprinter Dwain Chambers.

The governing body had tried to prevent Chambers, who has served a two-year drug ban, from competing at the World Indoor trials in Sheffield this weekend, but were told they had insufficient legal grounds to do so.

UKA believe that Chambers should not be allowed to compete in the 60 metres because he has not been drug tested since 2006. However, the sprinter’s lawyers threatened legal action and the UKA have been reluctantly forced to allow him to compete.

Victory in the trials would guarantee Chambers, who was banned for taking for taking tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), a place at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia in March, a situation De Vos is hoping to prevent in the future.

"I need to frame our governance rules so that we can maintain a right of selection," he said. "And I must do so in such a way that the law cannot unpick that right.

"I just want our body to be able to maintain its right to select whomever we choose for our national teams. No-one would dream of telling Fabio Capello or Brian Ashton that the law means you will pick this individual and yet that's the situation athletics finds itself in. I find that wholly bizarre."

De Vos also fears the sight of Chambers running for Great Britain could harm public perception of the sport.

He added: "This isn't a personal crusade by me against an athlete, or indeed by UK Athletics. But there is a wind of change (against drug users) blowing through the sport."

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