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Page last updated at 22:09 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 23:09 UK

Chambers 'welcome to run for GB'

Dwain Chambers
Chambers received a life ban from the Olympics in 2003

Sprinter Dwain Chambers is welcome to represent Great Britain again, says the chief executive of UK Athletics.

Niels De Vos said he would have "no problem with meeting with Dwain" to discuss him returning to Team GB.

Chambers was banned for life from the Olympic Games after testing positive for the banned steroid THG in 2003.

"If he qualifies and meets the selection criteria he will be available the same as any other athlete," De Vos told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I have to say that has been our position for some seven months - and indeed he did go and win a silver medal at the World Indoors.

"We can't change what's happened in the past, and Dwain will be treated the same as any other athlete."

Chambers has said he has no intention of fighting the British Olympic Association's Olympic ban after losing an appeal against the decision in July.

"As a governing body we have to play by the rules, and it would be wholly wrong of us to start changing the rules for one individual.

Chambers welcome in team - Van Commenee

"We will continue to support the BOA Olympic ban - which we believe is right - and I continue to lobby for four-year bans for first-time offenders," De Vos added.

"I don't think the situation was handled badly - there was a lot of noise and a lot of vitriolic remarks but none were made by us. That has to do with the morality of the issue.

"He is a likeable guy and a damned fine athlete - he must wake up every day and regret far more than I ever could what he did. You can't, however, undo what he did."

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Charles van Commenee, the new head coach of UKA, said last week that he too is happy for Chambers to represent GB in non-Olympic events like World Championships.

"Dwain has served his sentence, he is more than welcome back in the team," Van Commenee told BBC Sport.

"He's a very good athlete," Van Commenee added. "Everybody who serves their sentence is welcome.

"I'm fully aware of the restrictions given by the BOA and we'll live by that as well. If an athlete wants to challenge that, that's okay, and we'll live by the result."

After his positive test in 2003, Chambers admitted he had taken other banned substances to enhance his performance.

He also revealed to the BBC that he had started taking THG 18 months before he was eventually caught.

The revelation led to him being stripped of the 100m gold medal he won at the European Championship in 2002, and also cost him and his team-mates the gold they had won in the 4x100m relay.

Chambers challenged for a place in the British Olympic team for Beijing in 2008, winning the 100m at the GB trials, but the High Court refused his request for an injunction against his Olympic ban.

The BOA has been reluctant to welcome Chambers back into the fold, a stance vigorously defended by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

"I am clear cut on the Chambers case - I don't think there is room for drugs cheats in sport," said Coe prior to the Beijing Games.

"I do not think there is any lack of clarity about what the rules are - if you do that and you get caught, you get kicked out of the sport."

The BOA by-law which bans athletes who fail drugs test from the Olympics, barring mitigating circumstances, has been in place for 16 years.

But it is at odds with the position of track and field's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which says athletes found guilty of doping can return to all competitions once they have served their bans.

Some athletes have successfully appealed against lifetime bans - the last being Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu.

The 400m runner was suspended for a year after missing three tests during an 18-month period.


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see also
Chambers gives up Olympic fight
25 Sep 08 |  Athletics
Van Commenee named UKA head coach
23 Sep 08 |  Athletics
Chambers loses Olympic ban case
18 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Chambers storms to 100m victory
12 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Chambers comeback bid saddens Coe
05 Jun 08 |  Athletics
Chambers wins silver in GB return
07 Mar 08 |  Athletics
UKA to 'close door' on Chambers
15 Jan 08 |  Athletics
I was in gutter, admits Chambers
10 Dec 05 |  Athletics


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