Chambers hopes to overturn lifetime Olympic ban

Dwain Chambers' lawyers have launched a court appeal to overturn the British sprinter's lifetime ban from the Olympics.

The British sprinter Dwain Chambers celebrates his win at a recent track meeting in Germany.
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LONDON // Lawyers acting for Dwain Chambers have launched a court appeal to overturn the British sprinter's lifetime ban from the Olympics so he can compete in the Beijing Games. Mr Chambers' legal team filed court papers against the British Olympic Association (BOA), saying its bylaw that bans drug cheats from the British team is unreasonable. Mr Chambers, the former European 100-metre champion, is hoping the case will be heard by London's High Court before the British Olympic trials start on July 11. He wants to compete in the 2008 Beijing Games. "The basis of Mr Chambers' claim is that the bylaw is an unreasonable restraint of trade in that it goes further than is reasonably necessary for protecting the interests of BOA and the public," Mr Chambers' lawyer Nick Collins said in a statement. Mr Collins also said the BOA rule was "inherently unfair and unreasonable given the surrounding circumstances." The BOA vowed to fight the appeal. "The BOA confirms that it will vigorously and unequivocally defend its lifetime ban on drug cheats who have brought themselves and their sports into disrepute," the association retorted in a statement. Two-time Olympic 1,500-metre champion Lord Sebastian Coe, who is a vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said Mr Chambers was making a mistake. "I think it is distracting. It is damaging and this is clearly an issue that my sport has to deal very seriously with," said Lord Coe, who is also head of the organising committee for the 2012 London Olympics. "We test more than any other sport both domestically and internationally and we confront this problem head on." Mr Chambers returned to the track this year after serving a two-year doping ban from 2003-05. He tested positive for the so-called designer steroid THG, the drug at the centre of the BALCO scandal, in August 2003. All of Mr Chambers' personal and team results from Jan 2002 to Aug 2003 were annulled, including his European 100-metre title and European record of 9.87 seconds. To qualify for the British team, Mr Chambers needs to finish first or second at the trials. Mr Chambers twice ran within the "A" qualifying time for the Beijing Games on Saturday in Germany. He clocked 10.06 seconds to win the 100m at the EnBW Weltklasse meeting. Several athletes have succeeded in overturning the BOA's lifetime ban, including the world 400-metre champion Christine Ohuruogu, the former world triathlon champion Tim Don and the judo athlete Peter Cousins. However, they had been suspended for missing drug tests as opposed to testing positive. *AP