Shunned: Dwain Chambers runs in a low-key race in Rio Je Janeiro while his
sprint rivals compete at the Diamond League meeting in Rome
Asafa Powell and Christophe Lemaitre want doping reject Dwain Chambers brought in from the cold
By Simon Hart
25 May 2011
Dwain Chambers, Europe’s fastest man this season but shunned by the top meetings after his doping ban, has received the backing of fellow sprinters Asafa Powell and Christophe Lemaitre in his quest to be reinstated to the international circuit.
Lemaitre, the French double European champion, and Powell, the Jamaican former world record holder, will line up against Usain Bolt in a mouth-watering 100 metres clash in Thursday's Rome Diamond League meeting.
Meanwhile, Chambers finds himself in the sport’s backwaters on Thursday competing in a low-key 100m race in Rio de Janeiro, despite having run 0.07sec faster than Lemaitre this year.
The Londoner remains persona non grata among Europe’s leading promoters, who have agreed a voluntary code not to invite former drug cheats to their meetings.
But the code has not been universally applied, highlighted by the presence of Jamaica’s Steve Mullings in the starting line-up alongside Bolt at next Tuesday’s IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Mullings served a two-year ban for testosterone.
Powell, who once suggested that drug cheats should be locked up, believes Chambers is being made an example of due to his high profile but says his exclusion from the top meets is too draconian.
He said: “I think from day one Dwain’s thing was a bit too harsh — to come back and not be able to compete in the European meets. What’s the sense of that?
“It’s kind of fun for me to go out and see what athletes like that really can do without taking drugs to see if it was really true. If they got a ban and they’re back I’m not going to look down on them or anything. I’m definitely going to look at them as a regular competitor.”
Lemaitre, Chambers’s biggest European rival, said he also had no objection to competing against the Briton on the international circuit.
“Anyone who has been found guilty of doping made a mistake and they paid a price with their suspension,” he said. “If they have changed their behaviour and have good intentions, then I have no problem running against them.”