SHEFFIELD: British athletics was plunged into fresh controversy when Dwain Chambers, competing after a doping ban, powered to victory in the 60m in a national trial here on Sunday.
Chambers, 29, won with a season’s best time of 6.55, a result which should qualify him for a place in next month’s World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain.
British athletics’ governing body, United Kingdom Athletics (UKA), had wanted to stop Chambers running because he has not been in their drugs testing programme since 2006.
UKA’s selection policy means they are supposed to pick the race winner to represent Britain at the March 7-9 world indoors, but there is a loophole which could allow them not to pick an athlete in exceptional circumstances.
Chambers served a two-year ban, completed in 2006, after testing positive for tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), and UKA said they had tried to stop him on the grounds he had retired to take up a career in American football.
But Chambers has insisted this was not the case and had kept UKA informed of his whereabouts since 2006.
“Hopefully I will have done enough to get to the worlds,” Chambers told the BBC after his victory. “I’d like to believe my performance warrants that and I just hope the selectors do the right thing.”
The Londoner added: “Today has been worth everything I’ve been through; and it’s not over yet as my goal is to win the World Indoors.”
Chambers might yet be denied a place in the British team if UKA opt to invoke the “exceptional circumstances” clause in their regulations.
UKA may decide that, in an Olympic year, selecting Chambers for an international event in the lead-up to the Games would not be in the best interests of British athletics as a whole.
UKA chief executive Niels de Vos, who has spoken out against Chambers ever competing again for Britain, said the issue was now a matter for the selectors, who are expected to announce their team for Valencia today.
“I’m not on the selection panel but he (Chambers) will be treated the same as any other athlete who has raced at these events,” de Vos said. – AFP