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Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Thursday, 29 July 2010 12:46 UK

Darren Campbell forgives ex team-mate Dwain Chambers

European Athletics Championships 2010
Venue: Barcelona Dates: 27 July - 1 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC HD, BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Sport website (UK users only); Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; Full highlights on iPlayer and highlights of the biggest events on demand online (UK only) Full details

Mark Lewis-Francis

Lemaitre storms to 100m victory

By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport in Barcelona

Darren Campbell says he has forgiven Dwain Chambers for the doping saga that cost the former European 100m champion two major medals.

Campbell, who lost his 2002 European relay gold and 2003 World relay silver after Chambers' positive tests, says his former team-mate is a changed man.

"He made mistakes and acknowledged them. Everything you see from him now is heartfelt," Campbell told BBC Sport.

"Why? Because he's getting close to the end. It's not going to last forever."

He added: "It's difficult to hate someone who's now doing things the right way. I would urge people - don't hate him."

TOM FORDYCE BLOG

At the last European Championships in Gothenburg in 2006, Campbell refused to share a lap of honour with Chambers after they had won gold with the relay team.

However, Campbell says that schism has now been healed.

"I don't have any mixed feelings at all, because at the start of the year Dwain and I had a conversation," said Campbell, 36. "Peace was made between us because he understands why I did what I did and that it was never personal.

"There are problems in the sport with drugs and that was my protest against that. Paula Radcliffe had her own with the cardboard sign she held up at the Worlds in Edmonton. The dust has settled now, and I wish him the best."

Dwain Chambers

Chambers gracious in defeat

Chambers, 32, has been a divisive figure in British athletics since his return in 2006 from his two-year doping ban and subsequent forays into American Football and rugby league.

There are still senior figures in the sport who believe he should never have been seen in a Great Britain vest again but Campbell sees things differently.

"I feel sorry for Dwain," he said. "The person we see on the track today is what he could have become with the right decisions and the right people around him.

"He ran 9.97 seconds as a 21-year-old in 1999 and won bronze at the World Championships. He could have gone down as one of our all-time great sprinters, yet all we ever get to talk about is the drugs."

Chambers finished out of the medals in Wednesday night's European Championships 100m final in Barcelona but he is likely to be part of the British squad for next year's World Championships and Campbell believes he should be welcomed back.

He's been through it, and he knows what lessons have been learned

Darren Campbell

"The rules are the rules - he's allowed to run again," insisted Campbell, who is working with the BBC Radio 5 live commentary team in Barcelona. "UK Athletics have welcomed him back.

"This last year he has acted in the right way. He's come full circle and he seems to appreciate now what's important - he seems to really enjoy and appreciate running again.

"He's been on a journey. He said things that were completely out of order, that you couldn't win an Olympic gold medal with cheating.

"He didn't appreciate what he was saying. We do the sport through love, so the thought that he wasn't doing it because he loved it - or when he went off to play rugby league - upset some of us.

"There was a lot of stupid stuff going on but he realises now what he did, and also realises what he could have been. What we see now is real and that's all anyone wants to see in life.

"In Berlin last summer he just seemed to be really enjoying being in a World final and he's gone up a level since then - he's enjoying every single moment.

"Now we know he loves the sport and for me I can't have any animosity towards him because of that. Learn his lessons and make sure no youngsters go down that route again. He's been through it and he knows what lessons have been learned."



see also
Lemaitre edges out GB duo in 100m
28 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Campbell has no regrets over row
15 Aug 06 |  Athletics
Campbell row clouds GB relay gold
13 Aug 06 |  Athletics
UK Athletics faces Chambers flak
28 Feb 08 |  Athletics
Euro Champs day-by-day guide
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Euro Athletics predictions
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics


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