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What they say about Chambers

13 February 2008
bbc.co.uk

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

The 29-year-old - who was banned from athletics for two years after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug THG - will compete in the 60m sprint.

UK Athletics had opposed his inclusion but reluctantly named the Londoner in their squad after he won the trials and so fulfilled the selection criteria. Here are a selection of quotes from former athletes and officials.


ATHLETES' REACTION

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

"I feel quite disgusted, actually, at what's happening. There was an enormous amount of collateral damage last week as Craig almost became the great white hope. There was an enormous amount of pressure placed on him and as a result he ran quite badly at the weekend.
"Make no mistake about it, that performance by Chambers on Saturday at Sheffield was superb, it was outstanding. You don't produce those performances without training partners, without coaches, and I would like them to come clean about who is actually supporting him when he trains, because I think it's unacceptable."
Malcolm Arnold, coach to Chambers' 60m rival Craig Pickering

"These days there are no unhappy circumstances where athletes don't know what they're doing. This is not 30 years ago when a 14-year-old child behind the Iron Curtain is given something at breakfast and told that it was part and parcel of becoming an international athlete. With the amount of money being spent on education programmes, I do not accept there are any circumstances where athletes like Dwain Chambers can get sucked into something without being complicit."
Double Olympic gold medallist Lord Coe

"This was an athlete who went to America, knowingly took a drug that was undetectable at the time, got caught, admitted he'd taken drugs, then went on to say that you can't win anything without taking drugs. It doesn't put us in a good light allowing a cheat, who has admitted he's a cheat, to represent us."
Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes

"It upsets me when Dwain comes out with statements that you cannot win an Olympic gold medal without taking drugs. That's factually wrong and it does an enormous amount of damage to the kids who want to come into the sport. I understand him wanting to be a shining example of what you can do clean but I don't buy that. He knew what he was doing and he should be big enough to put his hands up and say: 'I need to walk away'."
1996 Olympic 400m silver medallist Roger Black

"He's served his ban, leave him alone and let him get on with it. He's been brought back into the sport and allowed back by the governing bodies and he understands that he has made a mistake. If he does well, get on with it."
1984 Olympic gold medallist Tessa Sanderson

"Dwain has served his two-year ban. It's something that the rules stated at the time and he's done that. He won the national championships last weekend in a fine time so I can't see why they shouldn't pick him. Dwain made a wrong choice, a very, very bad choice, and paid the ultimate price. He's now said he's trying to come back and prove that it was a mistake. You can't keep punishing him."
Olympic 200m silver medallist John Regis

"If they don't pick him then UK Athletics would be bending their own rules. He should be allowed to run and he should be representing Great Britain because he's the man for the job. He did serve his time and unless they are willing to change the rules and keep it 'once and you're out', he should be able to run."
2003 world 100m champion Kim Collins

"I think a lot of us in the sport feel that a two-year ban is never enough for people committing that type of offence. And I would hope that as the next few months follow on, this isn't really just about Dwain Chambers at all, it's about the sport's attitude towards those who've committed serious drugs offences."
Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram


OFFICALS' REACTION

"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."
UK Athletics statement

"There is a strong feeling among the committee that we would like to see greater penalties for drug cheats. That's obviously something that will need to be addressed after this and going forwards."
UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins

"The decision of UK Athletics' selectors to include Dwain Chambers is an internal selection issue. The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) regrets UK Athletics' unilateral decision to remove the athlete in 2007 from its registered pool of athletes to be tested while he was banned, and the lack of coordination with the IAAF, who did not remove him from its own registered testing pool during his ban.
"Wada welcomes calls made by various individuals and organizations, including UKA's executive director and the members of Wada's Athlete Committee, to strengthen bans. At the same time, sanctions must be legally sustainable to withstand any challenge."
Wada director general David Howman



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