Shamed athletes ‘serve no purpose’ to their sport

DWAIN CHAMBERS, the disgraced sprinter who took performance-enhancing drugs should accept and not challenge the life-time ban that currently prevents him from competing in the British Olympic Team. 

Dwain Chambers emerges from the High Court only to be greeted by a hoard of reporters

That’s according to the former Chief Executive of the British Athletic Federation, David Moorcroft OBE who was speaking to students at a Coventry University media lecture.

Having now served the two-year ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), Chambers can once again run at a competitive level for his country, but not at Olympic level.

And Moorcroft was less than agreeable with the comment made by the director of UK Athletics, Charles van Commenee that implied Chambers has suffered enough by the media for his use of the banned tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) drug in October 2003.

Moorcroft said: “My feeling is that people who have a serious doping offence really damage the sport, and they can never be back in the sport without a stigma; a stigma that is on them and on the sport.  They serve the sport no purpose in coming back.”

“There is the rule that we abide by – the rules of sport and the rules of law.  The rules of athletics say you are banned for two years – whether rightly or wrongly, and administrators have to abide by that rule.

“I think the rule is too lenient, it should be at least four years, maybe more, but you have to manage and administrate according to the rules that are there and not the rules you might like.

“The British Olympic Association (BOA) has a slightly different legislation that pretty much everybody in the sport has agreed to.  If you are banned in the sport, you are banned for life, and unless that ban is overturned in court, then Dwain won’t be competing (for Britain),” he added.

The former British athlete and two-time Commonwealth gold medallist from Coventry also dispelled Chambers’ claim that he could have posed a real threat to the current 100m Olympic Champion, Usain Bolt.  He described the Jamaican as “the complete master of everybody in that field of great, great sprinters”.

With so many stakeholders presently involved with the sport of athletics, Moorcroft believes it has continued to increase the levels of public and media expectation, but more pressingly accountability should Team GB “fail to perform” at London’s 2012 Olympics.

And despite many of Britain’s athletes receiving vast sums of funding from the British government and the National Lottery, Moorcroft is wary that promising and unheard of athletes progressing through the sport’s ranks aren’t receiving the support they should.

“It is a real issue,” he admitted, “where you get a guy who aspires to be an international athlete.  Certain athletes receive funding, but those who don’t are often brilliant.  And because they haven’t they feel rejected and become demotivated.”

Moorcroft added that the British Athletic Team could not buy medals or places on the ceremonial podium, particularly when Jamaica fielded a hugely successful team who received little funding prior to the Beijing Olympics.

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