CONVICTED DRUGS CHEAT Dwain Chambers was named in Great Britain’s Olympic athletics squad today after his lifetime ban was overturned by world anti-doping chiefs.
The 34-year-old sprinter was included in the 71-strong squad for London following the conclusion of a long-running legal battle which ended when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in his favour in April.
Chambers, who has not competed in the Olympics since a fourth-place finish at the 2000 Sydney Games, was banned for two years after testing positive for drugs in 2003 as the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) scandal broke. Under a British Olympic Association (BOA) by-law, athletes testing positive for drugs were banned for life from competing at the Olympics.
However the BOA rule was declared to be in contravention of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code by CAS, paving the way for Chambers to return. BOA chief executive and Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt insisted Chambers would be given full support despite the association’s attempts to bar him from the games.
“I think we’ve always said that once the bylaw fell away any athlete that’s eligible to compete with Team GB will be welcomed into the team,” Hunt told a press conference.
“There is no two-tier team. We’ll absolutely treat every athlete in the same way. We’ll give every athlete the same support.”
Hunt also played down suggestions that other athletes in the British team might resent the presence of Chambers.
“No I’m not worried about it at all. We’ll embrace any athlete into the team,” he said.
Chambers meanwhile expressed his pride at being able to represent Britain in his home Olympics.
“For me representing my country in an Olympics is a privilege that should never be taken for granted,” he said. ”To be given the opportunity to do so in my home town has been a dream that at times has seemed very distant and is now a reality.”