Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell calls for clarity over bans

Olympic Park, London. Sainsburys School Games''Pictured: Darren Campbell
Olympic Park, London. Sainsburys School Games''Pictured: Darren Campbell

FORMER Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell has called for more clarity regarding athletic drug bans, in the wake of former cheat Dwain Chambers’ lifetime Olympic ban being lifted, paving the way for his inclusion at this summer’s Games.

Chambers served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid THG in 2003, but under British Olympic Association (BOA) rules, he was subject to a lifetime Olympic ban, a bylaw which has been in place since 1992.

However, that decision was overturned this month after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) insisted the by-law was ‘non-compliant’ with their global charter on anti-doping, which states an athlete found guilty of taking a prohibited substance should be given a two-year ban.

This means that despite strong objections from the BOA, the sprinter – Britain’s fastest over 100 metres each year since 2008 – is eligible for Team GB selection for London 2012 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the decision to overturn the policy.

Campbell, who was speaking to the Free Press at the Sainsbury’s 2012 Schools Games, held at the Olympic stadium, previously slammed Chambers, after his positive tests resulted in the loss of his 2002 European Championships gold and 2003 World Championships silver medal in the 4 x 100 metre relay.

This came to head at the European Championships in Gothenburg in 2006, when after clinching Britain’s only gold medal-winning run at the Ullevi Stadium, Campbell refused to share a lap of honour with Chambers stating: “I just felt that the fact that I have lost two medals because of what occurred with Dwain, I just didn’t feel it was appropriate to do the lap of honour.”

However, that animosity appears to cooled as with the door now reopened for Chambers to qualify for this summer’s Games, Campbell refused to criticise the 34-year-old, claiming his inclusion would not cause friction, and instead urged the authorities to add clarity to their regulations.

“I don’t really have a major view on the decision being reversed on Dwain because the law is the law,” he said.

“It is what it is, but would I would say is that it would be nice to think that moving forward everybody has clarity, maybe there will be a review where the governing bodies will sit down and come together and decide the next way forward.

“However, at this moment in time it is not for us to scupper Dwain’s chances, although he still has to qualify, which a lot of people seem to be forgetting.

“I think the reality is, and it is ironic that we are talking about fairness for drug cheats, it wasn’t fair that the British athletes weren’t allowed to compete when American athletes who had been banned were, so clarity is certainly needed and we need to get to a position where everybody has full clarity.

“I don’t think Dwain being included within the Great Britain team would cause friction, because he has been competing now for Great Britain in other championships and the people who have competed alongside him at the World Championships and the European Championships aren’t any different to those who would compete at the Olympic Games.

“There hasn’t seemed to be a problem with him being able to compete for Britain at those competitions and so those athletes can’t turn around now and complain he has taken their Olympic place because they weren’t complaining before and so they can’t now.”