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Tom Fordyce | 14:28 UK time, Monday, 30 April 2012

The ruling from the Court for Arbitration in Sport that the British Olympic Association's lifetime ban on drug cheats must be dropped has opened the door to qualification for London 2012 to several previously ostracised British athletes.

Who are they, what realistic chance do they have of pulling on a British vest this summer, and which of their rivals may miss out on selection as a result?

David Millar, Carl Myerscough and Dwain Chambers

David Millar, Carl Myerscough and Dwain Chambers stand a real chance of competing at London 2012. Photos: Getty

Name: Dwain Chambers

Event: Athletics, 100m, 4 x 100m relay

Banned for: Designer steroid THG

The headline case for the ruling, and also the athlete most likely to go straight back into the British team.

Chambers's 100m 2011 season best of 10.01 seconds was an entire tenth of a second faster than the next fastest Briton, James Dasaolu, and the equivalent of several metres clear of Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Marlon Devonish, Christian Malcolm or Craig Pickering.

If he runs according to form at the GB Trials in late June, he will take yet another national title and with it a guaranteed place in the 100m heats in London. Even if injury means he finishes outside of the top two places, and thus misses out on automatic qualification, he is still likely to be chosen as the one discretionary pick.

It doesn't mean he will go on to make a genuine impact of the track in London; last year he was ranked outside the world's top 20, and failed to make the final of the World Championships in Daegu after false-starting in his semi-final.

But Chambers tends to punch above his season's best at major championships, in part because of experience (he is now 34, and first ran at an Olympics 12 years ago) and in part because his doping past means he is excluded from the big Diamond League meets earlier in the season.

It is his addition to the sprint relay squad that represents a significant boost to British medal hopes. As the fastest man in the quartet by some margin, Chambers is the ideal man for the anchor leg.

As someone who has apologised for his past and worked with the anti-doping authorities, he is also likely to be accepted into the team with few recriminations. He has run for Britain at the last two World Championships and won medals at the World Indoors.

"I am living proof that you can make mistakes and get yourself back on the straight and narrow," Chambers said, after winning 60m bronze at the World Indoors in Istanbul last month.

"My being able to compete at this top level is living proof that it can be done. It is my opportunity to give back to the youth."

Name: David Millar

Event: Cycling, road race and time-trial

Banned for: Two years in 2004 after admitting taking blood-booster EPO

Millar is the most experienced road racer available to British performance director Dave Brailsford. He was an essential part of the GB squad that took Mark Cavendish to the world road title in Copenhagen last year and retains the backing of his team-mates, not least for his rich understanding of how road races work.

"I would love Dave to be in the Olympic Games," Cavendish has said. "He is a loyal team mate, he is very physically good and experienced. He would make a massive difference to our team."

Millar himself has been non-committal on the London Olympics, preferring to leave it to Brailsford and form to decide. And this is where it gets interesting.

The Scot has not raced this month after breaking his collarbone in a crash at the Tour of Flanders. To get one of the five berths in the team with Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and Ben Swift all as good as guaranteed places and Alex Dowsett challenging hard in the time-trial will not be straightforward.

He must first make sure of a place in the Garmin team at the Tour de France and then prove he is in shape to go again. Insiders believe he will do exactly that.

Name: Carl Myerscough

Event: Athletics, shot put and discus

Banned for: Two years in 1999 for taking anabolic steroids

Myerscough has been the top-ranked British shot putter for seven of the last eight years, and has a personal best almost three metres longer than Scott Rider, the man ranked second last summer.

A regular in British teams at World Championships and European Championships over the past decade, he is almost certain to finish in the top two at the GB Trials in June and thus be picked for London.

Unlike Chambers, Myerscough's presence in British teams post-ban raises little comment outside the athletics community, a symptom of his far lower profile and lack of impact in the finals of big competitions.

Name: Callum Priestley

Event: Athletics, 110m hurdles

Banned for: Two years for steroid Clenbuterol

Priestley was one of the brightest talents in British athletics when he tested positive for the steroid Clenbuterol in January 2010 while on a warm-weather training camp in South Africa. He maintained he had been the victim of food poisoning from contaminated meat, but was unable to provide proof at his hearing and was banned until February 2012.

Bronze medallist at the 2009 European under-23 championships, he has not competed since his ban was imposed and so, although still only 23, is unlikely to meet the selection criteria for the British squad in London.

UK Athletics' 'A' standard for the 110m hurdles is 13.52 seconds. Priestley's PB, dating back to the summer of 2009, is four-hundredths of a second outside that.

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Former 800m Commonwealth gold-medallist Diane Modahl believes the World Anti-Doping Agency need to get "tougher on their penalties"

Name: Dan Staite

Event: Road cycling

Banned for: Two years after positive tests for EPO and an aromatase inhibitor

Staite was the subject of internet conjecture two years ago after rumours circulated that a British cyclist had returned a positive dope test.

When his name was finally revealed it proved anti-climactic to some; at best he was no more than a decent Category 1 club rider, and as such any chance of national selection when his ban expires in May this year remain minimal.

Name: Jatinder Singh Rakhra, wrestling, two-year ban expires February 2012

Event: Wrestling, 60kg category

Banned for: Two years for taking anabolic steroids

Rakhra, beaten in the first round at the World Championships in 2009, is apparently back in training after his two-year ban expired in February of this year.

But his chances of making London 2012 appear minute; British Wrestling's "no compromise" selection policy states that resources will be targeted "solely at those athletes capable of qualifying for and delivering medal-winning performances at the Olympic Games".

Name: Jamie Stevenson and Kieren Kelly

Event: Athletics, shot put

Banned for: Refusing to take an out-of-competition test

Stevenson, just 20 when he was banned two years ago, and Kelly, 23, were considered decent long-range bets to represent Britain at London 2012.

While Kelly was ranked third in the national standings in 2009 and Stevenson had represented his country at the 2008 World Junior Championships, neither has so far returned to indoor or outdoor competition since their suspensions ended in early February.

With the UK Athletics' 'A' qualifying standard for shot put 20.50 metres, both men would require significant personal bests before the team is picked at the start of July, a prospect insiders consider unlikely.

Name: Jade Mellor

Event: Boxing, flyweight

Banned for: Two years for taking diuretic tablet

Two-time ABA champion Mellor was stripped of her national title in Manchester in May 2010. Her ban expires in May this year, which would theoretically allow her to compete in London in her preferred weight category, one of three as women's boxing makes its Olympics bow.

Her suspension meant she was not included in any of the GB women's pre-Olympic assessment camps. She is also not in the team for the World Championships in China in late May and early June. Given that performances in these championships will determine who fights in London, her chances are surely over.


  • Comment number 1.

    So cheats do prosper but I have a feeling that the great British public may let any and all of those banned know exactly what they think of their actions. Only cowards take drugs because they know their ability isn't enough and we don't like cowards.

  • Comment number 2.

    Personally speaking, Im delighted that these athletes, having served their ban, can compete at the Olympics. Surely every sportsperson deserves a second chance

    Whilst they obviously did wrong by taking performance ehancing drugs, the fact that they have served and fullfilled a ban by their respective World Association/Federations means that they should be able to take as active part in their sport - without exception.

    Perhaps it should be the actual length of time of any drug-related ban should be more severe.

  • Comment number 3.

    We create ban's to provide punishment and we should also provide compassion and forgiveness when they have been punished (done their time so to speak) rather than be overly righteous about on going non participation and continue to prevent them from getting back.

    Everybody makes mistakes and should ahve the opportunity to rectify them

    I'm glad the BOA has fallen in line although I accept to that this decision is never easy to make or accept for certain parties.

  • Comment number 4.

    Let's hope the great British public let these cheats know their feelings when/if they represent us this summer. Could the whole stadium do 'a poznan'??

    Some talk about compassion, but sometimes we have to be responsible for our actions and they knew the score when doing what they did. Others tried to compete against them cleanly and many of those never got a second chance

  • Comment number 5.

    Good news as far as I'm concerned. The BOA's ban is simply a hangover of Victorian/Edwardian amateurism - a concept that still influences our approach to sport and it's meaning in this country. You can't have Chambers represent GB in the World's and then make a special case for the Olympics, simply because it was regarded a paragon of amateurism right into the 1980s. All or nothing.

  • Comment number 6.

    It is a shame that these cheats could stand a chance at representing the country. These people had their chance and they ruined it. Give the young athletes a chance before these guys. Sure they might not be as good but at least we can be proud of them.

  • Comment number 7.

    Can anyone let me know if drink driving gives a life ban? If someone who willfully drinks and drives can be forgiven I don't see what false morality sports thinks it has to ban an individual for life.

  • Comment number 8.

    Whilst I would never want to see cheats prosper, I do think that we have to have consistency in the sport. How can it be fair that Dwain is not allowed to compete in London, but countless other cheats whose governing bodies abide by different rules be allowed to ply their trade. I would advocate a 4 year ban for anyone caught cheating ensuring they miss an Olympics.

  • Comment number 9.

    Plastic Brits parachuted in to bolster the medal count, now druggies on the team too.
    A plague on all their houses.

  • Comment number 10.

    You don't mention Rio above, who might there be in consideration for the Football squad.

    You also don't mention Christine O: banned, then had Olympic ban overturned by BOA. Under BOA rules, three missed tests are equal to a fail, so it appears the BOA have already flip flopped over this issue by letting her in. Or did the cave when she suggested she would run for another nation if the Olympic ban was not overturned?

  • Comment number 11.

    The real problem is Chambers has had the benefits of many potent drugs which in all probability give him an edge over his fellow UKA sprinters who are clean. This is why in my opinion the Olympics should be free of all convicted drug cheats. If his offence was related to working in a bank and stealing he would never get a job in a bank again, of if it was chil;d abuse, he could never work with children again. So there are precedences which support my belief that all drug cheats should lose their right to compete in the OLYMPICS, after all they all know the consequences before they cheat.

    The sport had the opportunity to follow BOA in its drive to rid itself of cheats but chose not to, this says it all really.

  • Comment number 12.

    There are people on here who talk about the 'great British public', and then go on to complain that someone who has been punished for doing something wrong, should go on being punished, presumably forever. Well I'm a member of the great British public, and I would rather be in the company of someone who has 'served his/her time, and apologised, than spend time with vicious people who want to punish forever. It is these people who should feel shame.

  • Comment number 13.

    Saddened by this decision by CAS, although I think it was inevitable that they would consider the BOA life ban as an additional sanction and therefore outside the agreed WADA code. I still think that Olympic selection should be at the discretion of the Olympic Association of each country, and that they should be within their rights to apply whatever criteria they deem fit - if that means not selecting athletes who have had previous serious doping suspensions, then that should be their decision.

    Having said that, there is little doubt in my mind that our chances of taking the road cycling gold medal are enhanced by having David Millar available - the course is reasonable for Cavendish, but he needs all the power riders he can get for support, and Millar will be invaluable in this regard.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    The lifetime Olympic ban was in place when all these cheats chose to break the rules, yet they made the decision to cheat regardless. Why should they be treated with forgiveness when they knowingly accepted their own fate?

    I sincerely hope they are met with incredibly loud chants of "cheat, cheat, cheat".

  • Comment number 16.

    2 years is clearly not enough. A 4 year ban and an olympics missed is punishment enough and still offers the chance of redemption.
    Both Chambers and Millar have served their time. They have both worked with WADA to help solve the problem, they work with schools to educate children about the dangers of drugs. Everybody deserves a second chance!!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Not sure why you even bothered to include Dan Staite in that list, he has never been anywhere near a GB team and never will be!

  • Comment number 18.

    I think this outcome of the CAS ruling was probably inevitable to force the BOA to come into line with all other world bodies in complying with the WADA code. My personal perspective is that the blanket application of a lifetime ban from the Olympics is wrong and each case should be treated individually as each case often comes down to very different elements. Also the attitude and response of the individual should be brought into the equation when deciding punishments, Some who have been caught using banned substances show little or no remorse where as others have forged pivotal roles in the fight against drugs in sport and things like that should be taken into account.

    Moving forward I would like to see a longer initial ban for any sports person who tests positive for performance enhancing drugs as I do not feel that 2 years is an adequate punishment in many cases and this should be increased to 4 or 5 years.

  • Comment number 19.

    7. - Of course many professions ban people for life from practising their 'trade' - perhaps that's a better comparison. For me taking serious drugs like steroids over a period of time is nothing short of fraud - cheats defraud the public, sponsors & most importantly clean athletes of medals/money. Why should sport be different in that respect?

  • Comment number 20.

    I always found it strange that Chambers, having admitted his fault and given information to WADA, was treated worse than others who lied and refused to cooperate. Could it be either racism or (even worse) an attempt by the authorities to discourage whistleblowers. It is the sanctimonious ravings of some officials who I know were aware of drug taking in the 70s and 80s that sickens me.

  • Comment number 21.

    @19. The only trade I think worthy of banning people from are those that affects lifes like nurses/doctor... What I think makes sense is harsher senteces for cheating but life ban to me is excessive. There are people who defraud the public of much more and are paid more for it, ask Bankers and Politicians.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    They should test everyone every week for three months before the olympics. the only problem would be there would be nobody left to take part.

  • Comment number 24.

    Add to #22......she never failed a test but was sanctionaed nevertheless.
    At the end of all this sport has to be fair andequal across all sports on a global scale.

  • Comment number 25.

    #23; a little unfair. The testing regime has certainly reduced drug use as well as forcing innovation by drug producers. However drugs are certainly still around. I use a local gym which is also used by the players of a top UK ice hockey team and overhearing conversations in the changing room about "juicing up" are an everyday occurrence.

  • Comment number 26.

    Post #22 bumped..... How can any blog have an effective discussion on the scourge of doping when as soon as certain names are mention the posts are modded out....Come on BBC if you want a serious debate allow some serious points to be put across

  • Comment number 27.

    Why do so many of us find drug cheating so wrong. Many of us watch football and see cheating every few minutes (diving, fouling, handball etc) and this simply has us a bit annoyed for a bit and no one gets banned and in fact punishment of any kind, even retrospective, based on very clear video evidence, is very rare indeed.

    Yes, drug cheats are worth punishing, but in a society in which murderers and rapists get a 2nd chance after they have served their punishments, then why do we think that an athlete shouldn't be allowed to learn from his/her mistakes.

    I guess that some believe none of these people should be allowed a 2nd chance - I for one am glad we live in a world where redemption is possible.

  • Comment number 28.

    If they have completed the bans laid down for their original offence then they should be eligible for selection. Any other ruling makes no sense. If they deserved a lifetime ban they should have got one. If the selectors have discretion then they can apply it as they see fit.

  • Comment number 29.

    I was so excited about the olympics coming to London but as it gets nearer the shine is wearing off and now with this news I am afraid I shall not be watching those sports which include drug cheats in the number. The bankers, the policticians and now the sportsmen....they are all at.

  • Comment number 30.

    So the Diamond League are allowed to ban people even after their punishment has finished but the BOA aren't. What is the reason for this discrepancy?

  • Comment number 31.

    someone convicted of a sex offence is placed on a register and banned from certain jobs - they can still work and make a living just not in areas they may want to - this protects the vulnerable from predators, but it also sweeps up some who are young and foolish and are charged on technicalities. That is unfortunate but it is better to have some people cut out than risk the unrepentant predator getting in.

    this works as an analogy for the drug cheats. some may be truly repentant and caught up in circumstances beyond their emotional ability to control but others are calculating unrepentant cheats and it would be better if the ban stayed in place. These athletes are not being refused the right to work, nor even to pursue their athletics career, but it is fair that a national body has the right to demand the absolute highest of standards for those who are chosen to represent the country.

    It is truly sad that Team GB now has to allow convicted fraudsters to participate - no Bank would consider a convicted fraudster as an employee and no-one would blink at that choice. This is no different.

  • Comment number 32.

    One word Disgusted

    and if I was lucky enough to have a ticket for this summers games I would be leading the booing

  • Comment number 33.

    Only Chambers and Millar then. Neither are medal prospects. Millar could make the difference between Gold and not Gold for Cavendish. Happy that neither will get a medal, but I want Cav to get the Gold he deserves. If Millar can give Cav a Gold, then I will consider that he has redeemed himself.

  • Comment number 34.

    You cannot possibly connect a sex offender to an athlete that has taken a performance enhancing drug...!

    Imagine all those persons that have been jailed, but never given a second chance:
    Nelson Mandella
    Mahatma Ghandi
    Aung San Suu Kyi

    A severe punishment for all athletes found guilty of drug use, regardless of nationality, that is then enforced at all sporting events (Olympics, Diamond league etc.)

  • Comment number 35.

    Why are so many people comparing someone taking performance enhancing drugs to sex offenders? Just ridiculous. Another variation on Godwin's law ('s_law). Grow up. Learn to form a coherent arguments and stop making such asinine comparisons.

    In regards to letting people compete in the Olympics after serving their ban, why not? They served their time. If they deserved to be banned for life then they should have been banned for life from all competitions.

  • Comment number 36.

    I was a supporter of the Olympic ban for drug cheats; they could still make a living out of their craft without having access to the big prize (something that I thought was fair) and some of the drugs could well have left permanent benefits. There was a lot of talk by commentators when Chambers came back from his ban about his imposing build and whether he would have had itr without the additional hours in the gym.

    Anyone believing that cries of "cheat" will come out in the games is heavily mistaken. At the end of the day, most people won't care and a large proportion of the rest will believe (as I do) that it is against the spirit of the games.

    Only the top three people on that list will be selected. Millar will be the only one that has an impact (Chambers may get through a couple of rounds in the 100m, but he won't even have a chance to hold the baton in the 4*100).

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm so glad the BOA's ridiculous law has been overturned, but at the same time I agree with Jonathan Edwards that from now on, all athletes found guilty of deliberate doping should receive four-year bans to make sure they miss an Olympic cycle.

  • Comment number 38.

    About time. Cheats should be banned but there is no evidence that Chambers, Millar and the rest are currently cheating and they have been punished enough. On that basis they should be clear to compete. They will be dope tested just like everybody else and they know the score. The life ban is mean spirited and offers no chance for redemption. Chambers and Millar were both young when they were caught, both have been competing where they can for years since coming back from their bans. They will have been tested and tested and all come back negative, so why shouldn't they get a second chance.

  • Comment number 39.

    If they are allowed back they should have to wear some kind of identifying marking, so nobody is ever allowed to forget their past. Will be interesting to see the home crowd's reaction to Chambers for example, that will prove public opinion one way or the other.

    All doping cheats are contributing to risking the health and even the lives of other young sports people who think they have to copy that approach to reach the top. That's what makes them worse than any other kind of cheats in sport.

  • Comment number 40.

    Lifetime bans offer no incentive to cooperate when caught and encourage athletes to drag the process through the courts for years.

    Most drug dealers dont even serve two years - its enough punishment for a first offence.

  • Comment number 41.

    An adult is aware when they CHEAT, god damn its a sport.... never trust a person who cheats at sport..... l low form of life, desperate, will sell their mother to win.... Cheat should be barred for life and stripped of all their previous winnings. Is this what you want to teach your kids. Born loser..

  • Comment number 42.

    I say good for them. They have all served their punishment and should now have the rights that any other sportsman in any other country has.

  • Comment number 43.

    Too much time and probably money has been spent trying to protect this bylaw from a moral standpoint I was in favour but as they could compete in world championships etc loopholes could always be found, particulary after the Lashaun Merritt case . I agree with Jonathan Edwards get the ban for first time cheats up to four years and introduce a real sanction which takes them out of one Olympic games.

  • Comment number 44.

    I may be wrong but could Rio Ferdinand be included on this list now if he misses out on the euros and they want to pick him for team GB?

  • Comment number 45.

    Try read David Millar's autobiography before you call him a coward, the pressures placed upon him - especially in a sport with pretty much a reliance on banned substances at that point - were huge for a young man who knew that he was technically superior to many in the sport but had no realistic chance of winning. I know cycling may be a niche market as there doesn't seem to be such a problem in athletics (Dwain Chambers) but looking at David Millar, he has really realised his naivety, suffered immensely both financially and mentally throughout the ban and I really think that he has completed a satisfactory punishment for the crime. He even actively promotes anti-drugs within his sport and encourages monthly blood testing within his own team, people can change. Once a cheat, not always a cheat.

  • Comment number 46.

    Two years / four years ban is irrelevant, if you have enhanced your body using illegal drugs, you have an advantage over those that haven't. I could take shed full of drugs as a 10 year old, then develop a body I didn't deserve, ask to be drug tested, deliberately get banned for 2 years and then compete for the rest of my life. how does that stack up against those who are clean? Anyone who has taken drugs that enhance the body have to be banned from sport for life and get a different career. simple.

  • Comment number 47.


    erm.. an ironic response I take it. Let me check I understand your point: it is ridiculous to demonstrate that in other walks of life - I mention two different ones - someone guilty of wrong activities are, on an ongoing basis prevented from partaking in jobs relating to their misdemeanour, however it is not strange to liken a drug cheat to nobel prize winning political activists. mmm.

    I am guessing your comment re sex offenders refers to my comment, as the previous 30 comments seem to avoid the subject - thanks for the info re: Godwin's Law, it was interesting to read. In return may I suggest you look at a dictionary with regard to the meaning of the word analogy ( In using sex offenders and fraudsters I was attempting to show that having served a sentence for a wrongdoing it does not automatically follow that there are no ongoing consequences. I was not comparing a drug cheat to a sex offender, or fraudster.

    There is also a secondary point that it seems bizarre that a national body cannot set it's own criteria for selecting athletes.

  • Comment number 48.

    The fact is that these bans (including the lifetime ban on olympic participation) were put in place to deter cheating. They clearly haven't entirely worked as proved by high profile cases such as chambers - therefore isn't there a case that the authorities should be making the punishments stricter to deter potential offenders more effectively not reducing them by removing the lifetime ban on olympics?

  • Comment number 49.

    This whole business, while distasteful, is about a level playing field. The lifetime Olympic ban only applying to GB athletes was clearly unfair. The use of performance enhancing drugs is so rife in sport that the only crime of those affected by the ban was being disorganised enough to be caught. The real problems are the organised drug cultures in sport. These require the complicityof coaches, doctors and to an extent governing bodies who would rather do nothing than start having their major stars exposed.

  • Comment number 50.

    @46 Can you provide an example or proven by any scientific test that you would have a permanent advantage?

  • Comment number 51.

    How can I tell my son and daughter that they need to train and work hard at athletics each week when they are being sent the message that they can cut corners and cheat and still have all the trappings of success?
    Also what about the athletes that have worked hard all their lives to try and represent their country at the Olympics who will now be replaced by cheats? Will they experience compassion or a second chance? I want the best of Britain upholding the Olympic ideals not a bunch of cheats and the BOA should have the guts to stand up for what is right and not select just to try and meet some notional medal target.

  • Comment number 52.

    Drug cheating is not 'black and white'. What is the ethical difference between living at altitude to gain an advantage and injecting EPO for the same purpose? And any talk of Olympic Ideals is nonsense; for many years, the Olympic Games has been all about advertising, entertainment and National posturing.

  • Comment number 53.

    All athletes do deserve a second chance but the mandatory ban should be 4 years not 2 years therefore meaning whenever they are caught cheating in the olympic cycle its means they will miss one olympic games.

  • Comment number 54.

    very very very happy with the decision

    Chambers and Millar have done more than almost any other athletes/sportsperson to stop doping in their respective sports.
    A lifetime ban just for British potential Olympians seems unfair, when an American or Russian etc. can dope, serve a ban, then come back and compete when the Brits can't.

    The fact that they are allowed back is not a 'disaster', 'travesty', 'disgrace' etc.
    These athletes will be tested more vigorously than the vast majority of the other Olympians.
    History shows that most returning 'dopers' don't dope again, or just don't return to their sport.

  • Comment number 55.

    The blog made me realise that not every athlete caught doping actually has the desire and determination to come back clean and make an impact at the top level of their sport.

    As such, I think Chambers and particularly Millar should be applauded for getting themselves into a position where they can still mix it with (most of) the best on the world stage. And if they're selected to go to an Olympics on merit, then fair enough.

    That said, I've never seen the point in selecting Chambers for an individual 100m place because he simply isn't fast enough to win a medal - even his doping PB wouldn't be fast enough to compete with the current crop of guys. I'd rather see the slots go to younger guys who would benefit from the experience of that kind of exposure than to a guy who won't be around for the 2016 Games. (And if Dwain Chambers IS in with a shout of selection for 2016 then God help British sprinting.)

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    The legal basis for the ruling is perfectly sound if the BoA are allowed to decide upon their own sanctions outside the WADA remit then why cannot other associations ? They might then choose to impose 6 month bans on their athletes not 2 years. The Federations signed up to WADA and should all impose it's penalties worldwide.

    Actually despite the media outcry that this ruling is against the swathe of public opinion it seems to me in blogs like this that the majority of public opinion actually agrees with my own stance. People make mistakes and they deserve a second chance in life, what sort of society would we have with no forgiveness at all. However the current 2 year WADA ban is not sufficiently tough a 4 year ban ensuring the missing of at least 1 Olympics would be a better deterrent and a stronger sanction.

    The other problem with the current system is it seems to punish those like Chambers who when caught come clean and try to put things right in some way by helping the authorities etc whilst rewarding those like Ohurugu who deny all wrong doing and insist they are clean and it was all a mistake. ( not saying this is not true in Ohurugus case). Perhaps actually a 5 or 6 year ban with a reduction to 4 years for athletes who come clean and assist official investigations is the answer.

  • Comment number 58.

    This is so depressing. The Olympics is meant to stand for something. It is meant to set an example for children. The example this sets is, lie and cheat to try and get ahead and the punishments won't be that bad.

    We can all see a clear distinction between and athlete taking steroids to grow their muscles and one caught taking a cold remedy or something similar which happens to be on the banned list. For me, if you take performance enhancing drugs in sport, you shouldn't be allowed back to compete. That is how you stop people considering it in the first place!

    So now, the parents in the UK have to tell their children that their some of their sporting heroes have cheated......but that's alright because they 'won't do it again'. DO ME A FAVOUR! Its a sad indictment on the legal system and a sad day for the Olympic games.

    The ridiculous thing is, Dwain Chambers has cheated to get an advantage, yet he'll be lucky to even make the 100m final in London. Do we really want him representing us on the biggest stage in the world? Still as long as the lawyers get paid.....

  • Comment number 59.

    Another way of thinking about this is athletes' incentive for not taking drugs. Now that the BOA has been forced to buckle under WODA, British athletes may not have to miss even a single Olympics. There is therefore less incentive for athletes to stay clean.

    I do agree that there should be a universal consistency with regards to drugs bans; the UK should not be disadvataged for trying to make sport clean. However, leniency was definitely not the right way to go.

  • Comment number 60.

    Simplest way to deal with this would be to make bans sufficiently long (eg 10-15 years)as to be in efffect careeer ending. At present athletes can come back after 2 years having cheated to gain an edge on their rivals, and still be able to compete at the Olympics - that's hardly even a slap on the wrist let alone an effective deterrent! You might think I'm being too harsh about this and there should be forgiveness , chance for redemption blah blah, but why should a cheat be parachuted in to a team when an athlete who has run clean all their career is pushed out! What about the clean athletes who had their 100m relay medals stripped because of Chambers? I suppose if they're OK with it then fair enough, but I'd be interested to read Darren Campbell's opinions!

    The margins in some events are so small that some will chance taking a performance enhancing substance in an effort to win, at all costs. Why? Because to paraphrase Sir Chris Hoy (I think) 'any gold medalllist will be set up for life' Winning at all costs eh? It certainly costs sport any dignity that's for sure!

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't think any of them should be allowed to compete. They couldn't handle getting beat fairly so turned to cheating (understanding exactly what they were doing) to gain an advantage over those that were simply better than them.

    Dwain Chambers didn't just disgrace himself but also cost his relay team mates their medals also, they all had to give them back. If that was me then I would be furious. Why should they, who had worked so hard and done everything in the correct manner be punished for his cheating.

    They thought they'd all get away with it and they got caught, they are bad for sport and are most definitely not role models to youngsters.

    In 2008 I was competing the High Jump at a relatively good level, having jumped 2.08m and still relatively young things were looking promising, I've been struggling with injuries etc since, but it has never even crossed my mind to think that if I cheated and got involved with performance enhancing drugs that I might have gained the extra 23cms needed to qualify for the Olympics.

    Although at a cost of a short term 2 year ban, I'm sure others would re-consider, after all they won't miss out on the next olympics as their bans will be up....

  • Comment number 62.

    If you recall, it was the BOA who overturned Christine Ohurougu's Olympic lifetime ban after she missed 3 drugs tests. Was she not considered a drugs cheat?

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm not exactly sure how the squad for the Olympics is decided but surely the BOA could just not pick these individuals. If they ever got taken to court they could say it was for sporting reasons such as team morale or something similarly difficult to disprove.

  • Comment number 64.

    Incredible...some logic in what posts are removed and which are not on these forums would be a godsend especially as the moderators seem incapable of responding with reasons why.

    @62 Yes she was given leave to compete DESPITE the fact that missing three tests warrant an automatic sanction...the semantics over whether this counted in "the olympic ban" is down to the BOA who obviously considered it was not a sanction another ruling that perhaps WADA should have challenged

  • Comment number 65.

    The UK who had onr of the toughest policies on drugs cheats in the world have now been told that it's ok just to slap cheats on the wrist and then forget all about it. Chambers unless he gets injured will unfortunately make it as the rest of our sprinters are way outside world class. What is needed is for world governing bodies to adopt the UK policy not ban it. If the junkies want to run let them have their own games at least we would then know from the start.

  • Comment number 66.

    I must admit that after the CAS ruling my first reaction was think about handing back my road-race tickets.

    Of course we need a consistent ruling and it is ridiculous that Chambers et al can put a GB vest on for some events and not for others. I am also actually pleased for David Millar who has worked tirelessly to stop others from making the same mistake that he did and if anyone deserves a second-chance then he is that man. However it does leave a nasty taste in the mouth as it sends out the message that it is worth the risk to cheat.

    Border-line athletes (such as Dan Staite as mentioned) will continue take the chance on getting caught if that is the only way that they can make the team.

    There are also too many like Sandra Gasser. Flo-Jo etc who have paid the ultimate price for stupidity so we HAVE to find a workable solution to avoid further tragedies.

    Personally I would like never to see a drugs cheat in action again (and I include those like Tim Don (Triathlon) and Rio Ferdinand (Football) who missed tests) but realistically a four year ban is more likely. It does NEED to be a MINIMUM of one complete competitive cycle to make it affective otherwise athletes will simply spend their "banned time" training for the "big one".

    Sadly now the BOA is now in a weak position to negotiate this with no longer any bargaining-power.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    @63 - There are set standards that must be achieved on 2 occasions and the athlete must come 1st or 2nd in the Olympic Trials in Birmingham. That will guarantee selection, otherwise it's down to the selection committee.

  • Comment number 69.

    Originally post #22...i can re post, thanks Mods for clarification...appreciated

    This is a very important piece of sports law that has been judged. This was the CORRECT decision. When WADA was created by the IOC to be the WORLD Authority on doping it was with the backing of EVERY national Olympic Authority and a multitude of sports federations who wanted to take part in Olympic Competition.

    The WADA Code is The Sports Law which governs Anti Doping and as a signatory BOA must comply. If you are found guilty of a doping offence you serve a TWO year suspension and that's it, you are entitled to compete again, you cannot have additional sanctions. The BOA's Lifetime Ban (though I agree with it) is against the Sporting Laws. What this means is that sporting law is more transparent. While it may or may not be right that Millar and Chambers are eligible to compete it means that Team GB compete on the same level playing field as every other Olympic Nation.

    The WADA Code is also currently being looked at to revise, evolve and create new rules to govern sport fairly for all, this is likely to include new guidance on sanctions and do away with the Strict Liability Clause which has seen many athletes unfairly convicted of offences over the years.

    Alain Baxter the British Skier jumps to mind and Alberto Contador the Spanish cyclist. Alain used a Vicks Nasal Spray which was legal in the UK but a different US formulation of the spray rendered him guilty. In Contadors case a trace of Clenbuterol so small it can only be measured electronically was found in his system. Neither the cyclist, the UCI (cycling's governing body), WADA or CAS were able to prove what caused the drug to be in his system but like Baxter he had to sanctioned because of strict liability.

    What the BOA fails to talk about is the number of times they have turned a blind eye to athletes who have been sanctioned. Christina Ohurugu a favourite for a GB gold on the Track at the Beijing Games got to compete despite a previous sanction, she did not fail a test but incurred a sanction nevertheless.

    At the end of all this sport has to be fair and equal across all sports on a global scale.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm for lifetime bans. The damage has been done by the likes of Chambers, his actions have prevented others from winning medals and being considered for major events. Pulling on a GB team vest should be an honour and is something millions of kids aspire too. With the honour comes a responsibility.

    Don't forget as well that drugs in sport is a massive massive business and the anti-doping agencies are always playing catch up. There's more money on the side of the cheats so they will always have the edge. Athletes will be running in London this year with performance enhancement drugs in their system that the authorities aren't able to test for yet. Cheating is the lowest of the low and should not be tolerated.

    There will always be excuses - so David Millar realised he was technically as good as everyone else but they were all doing drugs. So what? Do we send out the message that it's ok if everyone else is doing it? Maybe if he'd kept his integrity intact he'd have been right up there with the best when the arse started to fall out of cycling.

  • Comment number 71.

    A couple of questions to be asked -

    1. What lasting legacy is there of Chambers's drug taking ?
    Is his body still benefitting from his time taking them ? For example - if he improved by 0.5 seconds while taking them, if (now that he's clean) his performance has dropped by 0.4 seconds he is therefore still reaping the benefit of taking PED's.

    2. Are athletes still tested whilst serving their bans ?

    And let's be honest - those caught are the tip of the iceberg. Those cheating are always one step ahead of the testers.......

  • Comment number 72.

    #46 and others who recognise that drugs enable people to train to a higher level ~ it is nice to see some common sense and less of the emotive stuff about crime and punishment. #50 and people who think that a ban is the end of the story ~ it is very simple. If drugs have enabled you to reach that higher level, then it is easier in the future to do so, with or without the drugs. It is called the training effect, upon which all training programs, clean and otherwise, are based. So two years or four years, it doesn't matter, because there is an enduring advantage from the effects of having taken those performance enhancing drugs.

  • Comment number 73.

    #72 This is simply not true. David Millar used EPO which artificially boosted his blood's oxygen carrying capacity. By not using using EPO, his blood's oxygen carrying capability is reduecd. He can therefore do less 'work' per cubic litre of oxygen uptake. His 'drugged' performance was based on Chemistry. When the effects of those chemicals left his body he would have found it as hard, or even harder, as a 'clean' athlete to achieve the same results - harder because he would've had a mental barrier to achieving something that was only possible with drugs beforehand.

    Additionally, why does everyone think the Olympics should be different from World Championships? Both Millar & Chambers have been performing and achieving in World Champs (DC indoors, DM in the TT) for the last 5 years. Why the big hoo-ha because of the Olympics? Is Mark Cavendish's Rainbow Jersey tainted because he had a drug-ban-server doing a shed load of work for him for 95% of the race?

    Finally, why should sport be different from life? Sport IS life, just magnified to accentuate the best & worst bits. If we stopped giving people second chances, we may as well do away with prisons and install capital punishment for all offenders; or stop detentions at school and just have exclusions; or stop driving licence points and just have lifetime bans; or no red cards in football - lifetime bans (Ashley Young - cheating, don't get me started!).

    Redemption and rehabilition shows others what can be achieved and shows us all to be better people.



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