EXCLUSIVE: Return of the drug cheats! Chambers and Millar set for controversial Olympics green light
06:40 GMT, 20 April 2012
Disgraced sprinter Dwain Chambers will be free to compete at the London Olympics when a landmark drugs ruling finds in his favour next week.
Sportsmail understands that highly placed figures within the British Olympic Association have privately conceded defeat in their legal battle to keep Chambers, who tested positive for systematic use of anabolic steroids, out of this summer’s Games.
Dope hope: Dwain Chambers is set to win his battle to compete at the Olympics in London this summer
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Olympic champion Daley Thompson: Drugs were worth the risk for Dwain
The verdict will be delivered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), possibly as early as Monday, in what will amount to a cheats’ charter.
A BOA source admitted: ‘We have lost this one.’
In addition, to Chambers, the ruling will allow Scottish cyclist David Millar, who was banned for taking the blood-booster EPO in 2004, to play a significant role in the road race team that is favourite to help Mark Cavendish to win a gold medal on The Mall.
Chambers and Millar, if fit and selected, will be among an estimated 80 drug cheats from around the world competing in London, partly as a result of court cases in the last seven months that have diluted the fight against doping.
Constant battle: Chambers has been fighting to earn his place in Team GB since his ban in 2003
The BOA had hoped to maintain their bylaw preventing serious offenders from being selected for the British team but CAS will rule that their stance fell foul of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code — the weak international standard to which the BOA are signatories. WADA’s maximum ban is just two years.
The BOA have indicated that they will reluctantly accept Chambers back into the fold, offering him the same support and chance as every other team member.
At 34, he remains the country’s fastest 100 metres sprinter and has an outside chance of qualifying for the Olympic final, though he first has to meet the qualifying time of 10.24sec.
He will also become eligible for selection to the 4x100m team, in which he should ensure Britain reach the final of the event.
And he'll be back: Cyclist David Millar is also set for a reprieve after his ban in 2004 for taking the blood-booster EPO
His return to the Olympic Games will come after he was banned for two years in 2003 for taking the designer steroid THG. He fought the BOA in the High Court before to the last Olympics, claiming their selection bylaw amounted to restraint of trade, but lost.
His ‘victory’ this time came after CAS set a precedent by repealing the so-called Osaka rule last October. The rule had prevented athletes who had been banned for six months or longer — in that case the defending 400m champion LaShawn Merritt of America — from competing at the next Olympics But CAS found the rule did not comply with the WADA code, logically placing the BOA bylaw in doubt.
The same three arbiters who sat in the Merritt case are ruling in this latest hearing.
Didn't quite work out: During his ban, Chambers tried his hand at rugby league and American football
The expected result will disappoint the majority of the British team, who have voted in favour of the BOA bylaw since it was introduced 20 years ago. Support has often topped 90 per cent and never dipped below 75 per cent.
The 1992 Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie, now a coach despite testing positive for the prohibited drug nandrolone in 1999, will also no longer be subject to the BOA rule.
However, he is unlikely to be accredited for the Olympics given the strict limit on coaching places.
Chambers on cheating… his own words
'I’d given my heart and soul to the sport and hadn’t come anywhere near a medal. I’d trained every day of my life since I was small boy, but I wasn’t progressing. I was desperate.’
‘Barely four months into my “programme” to become the fastest man in the world and I was on drugs nearly every day. At this point I was practically a walking junkie. I was on the lot and tests detected nothing.’
‘I would be able to earn enough money so that I could look after my mother. I couldn’t help but think about the glory, the look on her face when she saw that her son was the fastest man in the world.’
‘I trusted Victor Conte, my pharmacologist, and clung to his every word. I know this sounds strange, but I still speak to Victor to this day. He is a nice man, a father figure and I trust him.’
‘I learned that it may very well be that a certain steroid can give you a fraction of an advantage over a clean athlete, but if you are increasing your risk of blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, and end up bald with man breasts and a smaller, dysfunctional penis, I ask you: is it worth it’
‘On Christmas Day I realised I had been taking drugs – more than 300 different concoctions – for 12 months. A year on the programme cost $30,000.’
‘Britain wants to be a shining light in the fight against drugs. A cynic may tell you it didn’t do the 2012 Olympic bid any harm. I have played into their hands. Chambers the cheat may have played his own small part in securing the 2012 Games. Gentlemen, I was glad to be of service.’
Extracts from My Story by Dwain Chambers