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GB name Chambers in Worlds squad

12 February 2008

Dwain Chambers Dwain Chambers
Dwain Chambers has been included in Great Britain's squad for next month's World Indoor Championships.

The sprinter, who was banned from athletics for two years after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug THG, will run over 60m in Spain.

UK Athletics had opposed the selection of Chambers for the three-day event in Valencia because of his doping past.

But the 29-year-old Londoner won last weekend's trials, giving team bosses little choice but to pick him.

"I'm delighted by the decision that was made," said Chambers. "I want to thank the selectors for what I know was a hard decision for themselves to make."

However, in a strongly worded statement, selectors made it clear they had chosen Chambers under duress.

"The committee was unanimous in its desire not to select Dwain," read the statement.

"Taking him to the World Indoors deprives young, upwardly mobile, committed athletes of this key development opportunity.

"Our World Class Performance Programme is focused on achievement at Olympic and World level.

"On this basis, it is extremely frustrating to leave young athletes at home; eligible for Beijing, in possession of the qualifying standard and committed to ongoing participation in a drug-free sport.

"In contrast, we have to take an individual whose sudden return, especially when considered against his previous actions and comments, suggests that he may be using the whole process for his own ends.

"Unfortunately, the committee felt that the selection criteria pertaining to the winner of the trials, coupled with the manner of Dwain's performance, left them no room to take any other decision.

"We wish all the selected athletes well at the event but will certainly explore ways in which future selections can be made to match the true 'spirit' of our sport."

And performance director Dave Collins insists UKA have not bowed to the pressure of a potential legal battle.

"I can say with confidence that wasn't on my mind," said Collins. "I was keeping my eye on the ball against performance criteria and the purpose of the selection committee."

Chambers had already represented Britain following his drugs ban, winning 4x100m relay gold at the European Championships in 2006.

He looked to have turned his back on athletics when he tried to forge a career in American football.

But he caught everyone by surprise, in particular UKA, by making a return to the track last month, although he remains ineligible for the Olympics in Beijing later this year because of his doping suspension.

Collins is not convinced that Chambers is back in the sport for good and has completely turned his back on American Football.

"I don't have personal evidence to that effect, but I am looking at his actions and saying: 'Is this a guy who is going to be committed to athletics in the long term?'" said Collins.

"Is he going to come in and be part of the process and put himself on the out-of-competition register?

"I have not asked Dwain if he is going to do that. It was frustrating picking him and I wonder, is he being driven to do this for personal publicity?"

UKA chief executive Niels de Vos initially banned Chambers from competing in last weekend's trials for the World Indoor Championships, claiming he must undergo an extensive period of drug testing.

But the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) overruled this decision and UKA reluctantly allowed Chambers to compete in Sheffield.

De Vos, however, is determined to amend UKA's constitution and prevent any athlete who has committed an anti-doping violation from competing in British colours.

Chambers is one of 21 athletes named in UKA's first wave of selections for the World Indoor Championships, which run from 7-9 March.

Among them is shot putter Carl Myerscough, who was banned for doping for two years in 1999.

A second wave of athletes to make up the full team will be announced on 26 February.

Meanwhile, Chambers has not been asked to appear at this Saturday's Norwich Union Grand Prix in Birmingham.

"Dwain Chambers will not be invited to compete at the Norwich Union Grand Prix on Saturday," said event director Jon Ridgeon.

"Under IAAF rules, the event promoters have the right to invite whoever they wish, and both UK Athletics and Fast Track do not want the world's number one indoor meet to be overshadowed by this issue.

"This is not a personal matter with regards to Dwain Chambers but a view taken as part of our responsibility towards protecting the image of the sport."

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