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Page last updated at 20:31 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 21:31 UK

GB Olympic bans not 'rock solid'

Chambers was banned after testing positive for steroids in 2003.
Chambers served a two-year ban after using steroids

A fresh attempt to overturn the British Olympic Association's anti-drugs by-law could succeed where Dwain Chambers failed, says the head of UK Athletics.

Chambers lost his High Court bid to lift his Olympic ban for failing a drugs test because the judge felt he did not make a convincing enough case.

But UKA chief Ed Warner said the judge did not rule on the by-law's legality.

"I don't think anyone could say with certainty that, under English law, it will be rock solid for ever," he said.

The BOA will not pick any athletes who fail drugs tests for British Olympic teams and did not want to select Chambers to run in Beijing because he failed a test in 2003.

Having achieved the 100m qualifying time, the sprinter brought his case just two days before the BOA had to make its final team selection for the Games, which begin on 8 August.

BBC Sport's Matt Slater

In his summing up after ruling in the BOA's favour, Mr Justice Mackay said: "Many people both inside and outside sport would see this by-law as unlawful.

"(But) In my judgment it would take a much better case than the claimant has presented to persuade me to overturn the status quo at this stage and compel his selection for the Games."

UK Athletics backed his decision but Warner, who is the organisation's chairman, told BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday: "There might have been different results and outcomes had the timetable been different.

"In hindsight, maybe Dwain Chambers was poorly advised, waiting until he had secured the qualifying time to then bring his case, which compressed it into a very short timeframe.

"It isn't a black and white situation. If (the issue) gets re-opened in the future, it will undoubtedly take up a lot of the BOA's time all over again, but in a different way.

"UK Athletics values the by-law very highly, but a court of law is different to the opinion of a sport's governing body."

We do not wish to see deliberate cheats participating again in the Olympic Games and the IOC has already taken some steps in introducing new rules

Professor Arnie Ljungkbist
Chairman, IOC medical commission

The International Olympic Committee has introduced a new rule this month, which means any competitior from any country who is banned for six months or more for a doping offence will be banned from the next Olympics.

But chairman of the IOC medical commission, Professor Arnie Ljungkbist, gave his backing to the BOA by-law, which goes further.

"I had my doubts as to whether it would stand in court but I see that it does and that is encouraging," he told 5 Live.

"We do not wish to see deliberate cheats participating again in the Olympic Games and the IOC has already taken some steps in introducing new rules."

Meanwhile, sprint legend Linford Christie has urged the sport to forgive and "rehabilitate" drug cheat Dwain Chambers rather than "leave him to rot".

They need to use him as an ambassador for the sport

Linford Christie on Dwain Chambers

"There are rules and regulations in life we have to abide to but sometimes I feel that forgiveness is one of those things that we've got to look into," said the 1992 Olympic 100m gold medallist.

"OK, he can't go to the Olympics but I think the sport has to rehabilitate him."

Christie also believes a successful, clean comeback by Chambers would set a good example.

"Yes, and I think that's what they need to use him as an ambassador for the sport," said the 48-year-old, who is now a coach but is also banned from the Olympics having failed a drug test himself at the end of his career.

"Go out there to the kids in the community and say 'Listen, this is what's happened to me. I made mistakes and sometimes your mistakes come back and bite you in the bum so don't do the same as I did.'

"And I'm sure he can go out there and do good but if we leave him there to rot than he'll become a bitter person and who knows."

see also
Olympics set for new doping rule
06 Jun 08 |  Olympics
GB name Olympic athletics squad
19 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Chambers sets London 2012 target
19 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Chambers loses Olympic ban case
18 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
21 Jul 08 |  Team GB
Athletics on the BBC
17 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Contact TV team
08 Apr 08 |  Athletics

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