30 Apr 2012

World doping body calls Brits ‘hysterical’ over Olympic ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency slams the British Olympic Association for its “hysterical” fight to punish sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar with lifetime bans for doping.

Britain tried to enforce a policy that any UK athlete guilty of a doping offence was not eligible for consideration as a member of “Team GB,” effectively banning sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar from competing in the London 2012 Olympics.

Friday’s ruling by the court of arbitration overturns the lifetime bans, challenging Britain’s hard-line stance on performance-enhancing drugs and leaving an angry dispute simmering between the British Olympic Association and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

BOA arguments ‘hysterical’

The Agency said it was regrettable the British resorted to “hysterical” and “inaccurate” statements in an effort to keep the lifetime bans in place.

Mr Chambers, banned for two years after admitting steroid use, remains the UK’s fastest sprinter and 23rd-ranked in the world. Mr Millar, who admitted doping to French police in 2004, won the gold medal last year in the Commonwealth Games riding for Scotland.

Lifetime implications

The BOA argued that the lifetime bans were part of a larger policy – namely, that the British selected only athletes of good character, but the court found otherwise.

“The fact is that the only behaviour that is explicitly referred to in the by-law, and that renders one ineligible to compete, is the commission of a doping violation,” the court ruled in a 35-page judgment that has implications for all athletes facing a lifetime ban for doping.

The Agency had initially ruled the British by-law didn’t comply with the world anti-doping code because it was more stringent than in other countries, leading Britain to appeal to the court of arbitration for sport and Monday’s ruling in favour of the athletes.