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Dwain Chambers will run at trials but UKA left far from happy

6 February 2008

Rick Broadbent

Dwain Chambers may have been cleared to run at the trials for the World Indoor Championships on Sunday, but UK Athletics (UKA) left nobody in any doubt that it regards him as a blot on the landscape.

Niels de Vos, the UKA chief executive, accepted that he did not have a legal case to deny Chambers a place at the trials, but called for drug cheats to be “ostracised” and said the IAAF, the world governing body, needed to “crank up the pressure”. De Vos is leading a review of UKA's policy on doping offenders and wants to introduce life bans. Nick Collins, Chambers's lawyer, said that UKA could not introduce retrospective punishments.

A legal battle is still looming. Should Chambers, who completed a two-year ban for taking tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) in 2006 before turning to American football, win the 60metres on Sunday, he would normally gain automatic selection for the World Indoor Championships in Valencia. However, UKA believes it has discretionary powers to bar him even if he defeats the likes of Craig Pickering. “Governing bodies should be given delegated authority to make decisions about who represents their country,” De Vos said. “Fabio Capello can pick who he wants.”

De Vos said there was not a doping problem in Britain. “I would never say all, but instinctively I think our athletes are clean,” he said. “We have a very good record outside of Dwain.”

Chambers was delighted to overcome the first step on what promises to be a pitted comeback trail. “I want to help bring the sport back up and bring the medals in because it's been through a rough time,” he said. “I feel good. I'm the Dwain of old and I'm performing in a better frame of mind.”

A statement released by UKA said that the decision to invite Chambers to the trials had been taken reluctantly. “I believe that the Balco scandal and the imprisonment of Marion Jones have significantly damaged the credibility of athletics as a sport,” De Vos said. “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 Great Britain. Dwain is not in that position.”

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