London 2012 Olympics: CAS over-rule BOA lifetime bans for Dwain Chambers and David Millar

Robertson 'disappointed' after CAS confirm BOA's lifetime bans for drug cheats Chambers and Millar are dead

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UPDATED:

14:48 GMT, 30 April 2012

Sports and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson has revealed his pain after the Court of Arbitration for Sport over-ruled the BOA's lifetime bans for drug cheats.

Dwain Chambers has been told his
Olympic ban has been lifted – following on from Sportsmail’s revelation of 10 days ago that
he is free to compete at London 2012.

CAS say that the British Olympic
Association cannot ban any athlete — including Chambers, who
systematically took steroids in the early 2000s — from Olympic Games for
life for serious doping offences because such a bylaw is at odds with
the World Anti-Doping Agency’s lax code.

CAS said in a statement: 'The by-law is a doping sanction and is therefore not in compliance with the WADA code. The CAS confirms the view of the WADA foundation board as indicated in its decision. Therefore, the appeal of BOA is rejected, and the decision of the WADA foundation board is confirmed.'

Second chance: Dwain Chambers is to be cleared for the Olympics

Second chance: Dwain Chambers is to be cleared for the Olympics

The BOA have also been ordered by CAS
to 'pay all of the costs of the arbitration' – the organisation has
already incurred substantial legal costs in hiring top barrister Lord
David Pannick to represent them, albeit at reduced rates.

Robertson expressed his disappointment at the outcome, and called for tougher sanctions for doping offences generally.

He said: 'I supported the BOA's
position, as our national Olympic committee, in having the autonomy to
set its own eligibility criteria for Team GB athletes.

'I accept this ruling from the Court
of Arbitration for Sport but it is very disappointing. Moving forward, I
fully endorse UK Anti-Doping's first submission to WADA as part of its
review of the World Anti-Doping Code. I want the code to be further
strengthened and I would particularly like to see tougher sanctions for
proven drug cheats.

'The UK takes its responsibilities in
the fight against doping in sport seriously. As we host the Olympic and
Paralympic Games this year, we are promoting this message through the
international 'Win Clean' campaign.'

UK Athletics confirmed that any
athletes such as Chambers who had been affected by the lifetime ban
would now be eligible for selection.

A statement read: 'UK Athletics has
always supported the BOA by-law but welcomes the clarity the CAS
decision brings to this issue.

'Athletes affected by the ruling are
now eligible for the team, in both individual and relay events, and will
be subject to the same selection criteria and process as every other
British athlete.'

Millar is likely to be part of the Olympic cycling team in London but British Cycling refused to speculate on that possibility.

A spokesperson said: 'Our team for
the Games is being selected in June and across all disciplines we'll
pick the team based on which riders are fit and available, and who we
believe have the best chance to deliver medals. Ahead of that we won't
be speculating on who may or may not be selected.'

Chambers, Britain’s top 100 metres sprinter despite being 34, now has to qualify. He must run 10.18sec to gain selection, which he should manage comfortably.

But beyond the moral dilemma of whether he should compete this summer lies an equally perplexing question: why, at 34, is he still our best chance of a 100m medal

Next best Simeon Williamson (left) could pose a challenge to Chambers

Next best Simeon Williamson (left) could pose a challenge to Chambers

It is surely an indictment of UK
Athletics, with 25million worth of funding for their home Games, that
they have not nurtured anyone capable of beating a former drugs cheat
whose only Olympics so far came in Sydney 12 years ago.

For
all Britain’s unforgettable successes in the 100m — from Harold
Abrahams to Allan Wells to the ultimately tainted Linford Christie — the
well has dried up.

None of
the talent to emerge here this century (Chambers came to prominence in
the late Nineties) has run sub-10sec. Eighty have done it since Jim
Hines first did in 1968. Only three are British: Christie, Chambers and
Jason Gardener.

The talent
pool is not bereft. Christian Malcolm, Mark Lewis-Francis, Craig
Pickering, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Simeon Williamson won world or
European titles as teenagers. Yet none has set a personal best this
decade.

But why It is a story, in part, of expensive but unsuccessful coaching, and easily won funding that has sated competitive hunger.

Former world record-holder Asafa Powell said: ‘British sprinters are lazy. They don’t really want to practise. In Jamaica, you have to work harder for what you want.’

The point is amplified by Dai Greene, Britain’s world 400m hurdles champion. ‘It’s too much too soon,’ he said. ‘They do well as juniors then get endorsements because the 100m is high-profile. They think they have made it before their careers have started.’

Relay sprinters receive a Lottery package of up to 70,000 without needing top results in individual sprints. No Briton bar Chambers has a remote chance of making the Olympic final, hence why UKA chief coach Charles van Commenee prioritises the faint hope of a relay medal.

Van Commenee, who took over after Beijing 2008, brought in Michael Khmel, a Ukraine-born coach, to work at Loughborough. Dan Pfaff, a biomechanics expert, came to London’s Lee Valley centre on a reputed 125,000 salary. Five sprinters left their existing coaches as part of the upheaval.

But Khmel, who is coaching Aikines-Aryeetey, Pickering and James Dasaolu, is no longer relay coach. And Van Commenee recently brought back Mike McFarlane, having sacked him in the clearout that made space for Khmel and Pfaff.

False hope: Britain won gold in the 4 x 100m relay at the 2004 Olympics

False hope: Britain won gold in the 4 x 100m relay at the 2004 Olympics

While our stars have been licking their wounds in front of a succession of coaches, France have emerged as Europe’s most potent sprinting nation through Christophe Lemaitre, 21, and Jimmy Vicaut, 20. Lemaitre has worked for seven years with the same local coach, Pierre Carraz.

And the figures support the idea of stagnation. In 2000, Britain had three men in the world’s top 25, all under 10.09sec — 9.86sec was the world’s leading time and only eight men were under 10sec.

Last year, it was 9.76sec and 20 were under 10sec. Only Chambers from Britain was in the world’s top 25. In the middle of that period — in 2004 in Athens — came Britain’s Olympic gold in the 4x100m. It bred false optimism and complacency.

What chance of a recovery Among the current crop the only viable hope is Williamson, who Usain Bolt talked of highly two years ago. He has since had a knee operation and, at 26, is trying to resurrect his career in Jamaica.

So Chambers is still our top sprinter, even if last year’s rankings indicate he will only scrape into the Olympic semi-finals. A favourable draw might provide a precarious passage to the final. As for the rest, what a scandalous waste of money on unfulfilled talent.

DWAIN CHAMBERS FACTFILE

1978: Born Islington, London, April 5.
1998: Takes 100 metres silver in European Championships and is third in World Cup.

1999: Runs 9.99 seconds to become the second European sprinter to break the 10-second barrier after Linford Christie. Runs 9.97secs to claim bronze at the World Championships in Seville.

2000: Fourth in Olympics final in Sydney.

2002: Gets off to a bad start in the Commonwealth Games 100m final and pulls up with cramps, later attributed to lack of fluids.
Takes gold at the European Championships and adds a superb run to bring the British team home for gold in the 4x100m relay.

2003: August 25 – Finishes fourth in the World Championships 100m final in Paris in a time of 10.08.
October 22 – Revealed to have tested positive for newly discovered `designer steroid' tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). Denies knowingly taking the drug.
November 7 – IAAF suspend Chambers pending disciplinary hearing, after B sample tests positive.

2004: February 22 – Handed a two-year worldwide ban due to expire on November 7, 2005 and a BOA lifetime suspension from the Olympics.

2005: December 10 – Admits using THG for 18 months before failing his drug test including when he became double European champion in August 2002.

In the clear: Dwain Chambers

2006: June 10 – Cleared by UK Athletics to make comeback.
June 11 – Returns to action at Gateshead, finishing third in 10.07. His time is the fastest by a European in 2006.
June 26 – All performances since January 1, 2002 annulled, including individual and relay gold at the European Championships in Munich in 2002 and the European record of 9.87 he shared with Linford Christie, after his admission to using THG prior to his failed drugs test.
August – Selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Gothenburg.
Finishes seventh in the individual event before joining Mark Lewis-Francis, Darren Campbell and Marlon Devonish in the 4x100m sprint relay squad. The quartet win gold but their achievement is overshadowed by Campbell's refusal to celebrate on a lap of honour with his team-mates, saying it would be “hypocritical”.

2007: March – Secures a contract with NFL Europa side Hamburg Sea Devils.

2008: January – UK Athletics chief executive officer Niels de Vos claims Chambers will be barred from making a comeback because he has not undergone drug testing since November 2006 when he left the sport. The IAAF claim he is eligible to run because he never retired from athletics.
February 2 – Qualifies for the World Indoor trials in Sheffield by winning the 60m at the Birmingham Games in 6.60.
February 5 – Allowed to compete in Sheffield after UKA grudgingly accept his entry after the athlete's solicitors prepared to launch a High Court injunction against them.
February 10 – Storms to victory in the 60 metres in Sheffield to book himself a spot at the following month's World Indoor Championships in Valencia.
March 7 – Wins a silver medal in the World Indoor Championships.
May 6 – After a month-long trial with Super League side Castleford, the club reveal he will not be offered a contract.
June 4 – Wins his first 100m race since August 2006 in Greece.
June 30 – 200 past and present athletes, including Dame Kelly Holmes and Sir Steven Redgrave, sign a petition against Chambers being picked for the Beijing Games after his lawyers confirm plans for a High Court appeal against the BOA's lifetime Olympics ban.
July 3 – Court proceedings are launched by Chambers' legal team.
July 12 – Wins the 100m at the Aviva UK National Championships, the qualifying event for the British Olympic team.
July 18 – Chambers' attempt to gain a temporary injunction against the BOA ban is rejected at the High Court to end hopes of competing in Beijing.

2009: March – Wins gold over 60m at the European Indoor Championships in 6.46s.
Causes further controversy later in the same month after alleging in his autobiography that drug use is widespread within athletics.
August 16 – Finishes sixth in the 100m final at the World Championships in Berlin as Usain Bolt breaks the world record, pulls out of the 200m with a calf injury.

2010: March 13 – Wins world indoor gold over 60m in Doha.
June – Clocks 9.99 to win the 100m at the European Team Championships in Bergen, his first sub-10 clocking since 2001.
July 28 – Finishes a disappointing fifth in the 100m final at the European Championships in Barcelona.

2011: March 6 – Wins silver at the European Indoor Championships in Paris.
August 28 – Disqualified in the semi-finals of the 100m at the World Championships in Daegu for false-starting.
2012: March 10 – Wins bronze at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.