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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 12:36 GMT
Grey Thompson to head drug review
Dame Tanni Grey Thompson
Grey Thompson retired from competition in May 2007
Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson is to lead a review by UK Athletics of its anti-doping policy.

The move follows the controversial selection of Dwain Chambers for the World Indoor Championships.

Grey Thompson is Britain's most successful Paralympian, having won 16 medals including 11 golds.

"Tanni is one of the greatest athletes this country has seen and a passionate advocate of drug free sport," said UKA chief executive Niels de Vos.

Chambers was named in the Great Britain team for next month's championships in Spain after winning the 60m at the trials last weekend, despite having served a two-year ban from the sport which was imposed after he failed a drugs test in 2003.

But UKA selected him reluctantly, and his inclusion has divided opinion among former athletics stars.

"Athletics must act now to strengthen its own ability to select the athletes it wants to select," said de Vos.

For me, if you get caught taking a banned substance, you don't take part in an Olympics or Paralympics ever again

Tanni Grey Thompson

"Representing Great Britain must remain a privilege and not a right, and the review will ensure the sport never finds itself in such a position again."

Grey Thompson herself said she was hopeful the review panel would have as wide a remit as possible.

"I can assure everyone we will consider every available option open to us including the possibility of extended lifetime bans, the right to control entry into UKA events and how future selection policies are framed.

"In the international arena we will lobby relentlessly to increase the penalties for drug cheats," she commented.

"I believe the time is right for UKA to play a leading role in driving change through athletics to ensure that drug offenders cannot walk back into our sport unchallenged and untested."

Grey Thompson also told BBC Radio 5 Live that although she would not impose her views on other members of the panel, she believes there should be a stiff punishment for drug-taking.

"For me, if you get caught taking a banned substance, you don't take part in an Olympics or Paralympics ever again," said Grey-Thompson.

"But beneath that, whether we like it or not, it does become a grey area."

UK Athletics president Lynn Davies, the 1964 Olympic long jump champion, has called for athletes who have committed an anti-doping violation to be banned.

He said: "We have to make it a lot more difficult for any athlete with a positive drug test history to represent Britain ever again."

Under British Olympic Association rules, Chambers's failed drug test triggers a lifelong Olympic ban and UKA chief Davies wants that extended to all competitions.

"We really have to fight this threat to our sport, because it has a big image and perception problem," he said.

"I feel sorry for our clean and totally honest young athletes who are doing their best with honest endeavour but the talking point is once again drugs and Dwain Chambers.

"We picked Dwain for the World Indoors with a heavy heart but we had no option.

"There was no selector discretion as we clearly outlined our qualifying criteria beforehand.

"It stated if you win within the qualifying time then you automatically qualify for the World Indoor Championships.

"We would have much preferred a younger athlete who would be able to run at the Olympics but, by the letter of the law, Dwain has served his ban and was eligible to run.

"UK Athletics tests 700 athletes annually and Dwain is the only one who has got caught in four years."



SEE ALSO
GB name Chambers in Worlds squad
12 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Holmes angry at Chambers' GB call
12 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Chambers wins Sanderson backing
11 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Chambers should be picked - Dick
11 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Chambers gives selectors headache
11 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Chambers shines on track return
03 Feb 08 |  Athletics
UKA to 'close door' on Chambers
15 Jan 08 |  Athletics
Chambers gets two-year ban
24 Feb 04 |  Athletics


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