Chambers avoids the selection loophole, and embarrasses his fellow athletes

Dwain Chambers has been selected for the GB athletics squad for the World Indoor Championships in Valencia.

It is of course controversial, and UK Athletics chief Niels de Vos (I will have to try and remain impartial here, as de Vos was chief executive of Sale Sharks and Stockport County under the banner of Cheshire Sports, the sporting arm of multi-millionaire Brian Kennedy. Their decision making severely impacted on the way County was run and arguably endangered the club. Anyway…) was all but demanding the selection committee to activate a loophole in the selection process to avoid selecting him.

The loophole, which allows the selection committee to choice another athlete in “exceptional circumstances” mainly relating to performance, value judgements or stone-cold belief, was last used in 1983 when a struggling Coe managed to usurp Peter Elliott, who initially won 1500m Olympic trial, only to have his place given to the Olympic champion Coe.

In the end, it was a decision that paid off for Great Britain and for Coe; but it impacted on Elliott who, while having a place for the 800m, had to go through an unfamiliar routine of two qualifying races prior to the final. In the end, he succumbed to injury and was unable to run for gold.

Chambers’ selection was begrudging. The statement released by the selection committee is far from complimentary:

“Taking him to the World Indoors deprives young, upwardly mobile committed athletes of this key development opportunity.

“Our World Class Performance Programme is focused on achievement at Olympic and World level. On this basis, it is extremely frustrating to leave young athletes at home; eligible for Beijing, in possession of the qualifying standard and committed to ongoing participation in a drug-free sport.

In contrast, we have to take an individual whose sudden return, especially when considered against his previous actions and comments, suggests that he may be using the whole process for his own ends.

“Unfortunately, the committee felt that the selection criteria pertaining to the winner of the trials, coupled with the manner of Dwain’s performance, left them no room to take any other decision.

“We wish all the selected athletes well at the event, but will certainly explore ways in which future selections can be made to match the true ‘spirit’ of our sport.”

I don’t think Chambers will need any more inspiration after reading that. Chambers beat the rest of the field, and therefore he has the right to go — former drugs cheat or not. No other athlete was good enough, and that’s the end of the matter. He has carried out his sentence, has realised that he was a product of corruption and not a cause, and can do nothing else except, in his words, “let the legs do the talking.”

And I think that’s another reason for the animosity to Chambers. He has just walked back into the sport after flirting with American Football, and beat the rest of the field who train day in, day out.

He exposed the rest of the athletes as not being good enough, and not matching his ability minus chemical assistance. In essence, he showed up the other athletes royally, and they (UK Athletics, Steve Cram do not like it. Indeed, it was refreshing to hear 2nd place Simeon Williamson supporting Chambers.

Chambers obviously is good enough, and it’s time he proved it without science’s help.



1 Comment

Filed under Athletics, Comment, Dwain Chambers, IAAF, News, Seb Coe, Sport

One response to “Chambers avoids the selection loophole, and embarrasses his fellow athletes

  1. Jamie Brown

    Well, quite frankly I’m staggered. David speaks here not merely in a minority but seemingly in a minority of one. I can only assume that you failed in your efforts to “remain impartial”, and clearly you have an axe to grind against Mr De Vos, or you wouldn’t have seen fit to mention it in the first place.

    Whatever he may have done to you in Stockport, it can surely be no adequate explanation for throwing your support behind this parasite.

    Quite simply, Chambers is a liar, a complete loon, and has respect for neither his sport and its history, nor his fellow competitors. His place in any GB team has absolutely no value, as anything he wins would only bring further shame and embarrassment on the sport, and on GB in particular, but more importantly, it would endorse the message that, yes kids, cheats do indeed prosper. His only possible gain from this is personal, and financial.

    Chambers made a pathetic, and highly comic, attempt to become a German American Footballer (he wasn’t good enough to forge a career with a third division team in this most competitive of arenas) whilst banned from Athletics. During this period, he went on the record to say that all athletes were on drugs (provably incorrect), and no one could possibly win a major championships medal without being on drugs (provably incorrect, and completely nuts). Most importantly though, in this same interview, he admitted that when he visited BALCO, he knew exactly what he was doing and why. I fail to see how this makes him “the product of corruption and not a cause”.

    Whether or not GB has any decent sprinters, and if not why they aren’t coming through, is an important discussion, but a thoroughly separate one. Whatever your views on grass roots athletics in the UK, it certainly doesn’t take a genius to see that Chambers presence can only assist any decline, as it robs a young athlete of valuable experience, as UK athletics quite rightly pointed out.

    The main issue here though is surely with UK athletics. Why exactly do they have to pick him just because he won a trial? What’s to stop them taking an arbitrary decision to exclude Chambers for non-ability-related reasons? Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to see a sports governing body for once grow a backbone and make a statement along the lines of the following:

    “No, we won’t pick him because he’s a horrible man and we don’t like him. Yes, this goes completely against our rules. So? They are our rules and we shall break them as we see fit if we think it is for the benefit of our sport, which in this case it clearly is. We’ll see him in court.”

    It would have received nothing but support, and Chambers would have been finished for good in terms of championships. The worst thing about his selection, and continued competition, is that he will garner so much publicity. He is one idiot cheat, in a team of, in all probability, clean and honest competitors. He should just be ignored.

    To the athletics cynics, just remember this. Those who cheat to win do so because they need to, i.e they’re not good enough. There will always be a Michael Johnson, or a Haile Gebresellassie, or a Paula Radcliffe around to prove that true champions still prevail in this sport.

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