Ruling will allow Chambers, Millar compete at Games


ATHLETICS:THE SPRINTER Dwain Chambers and the cyclist David Millar will both be eligible to compete at the London Olympic Games.

The court of arbitration for sport has reached a verdict on the dispute between the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and, as was widely expected, the ruling has not gone the BOA’s way. In fact it is understood the ruling is unequivocally in favour of Wada. The news leaked out yesterday, but will not be confirmed until 3pm today.

While Chambers and Millar can now prepare to try to win Olympic selection at their trials in June and July, the next step for the BOA will be to remove the bylaw at a full board meeting. Not that it is willing to let the matter slide altogether. Judging by its previous comments, the BOA is likely to argue that its strong moral line has been defeated on a legal technicality. Wada would dispute that. Both parties are due to go public with their views this afternoon.

The fractious dispute between the two organisations will continue. Wada is seeking submissions for its ongoing code review, which will be implemented in 2013. It is believed the BOA will now concentrate on its proposal, made earlier this month, for that review to implement a minimum and mandatory four-year ban for a first serious doping offence, including missing one Olympic Games. The Wada code, which came into force in 2004, harmonised rules to bring in a maximum ban of two years for athletes who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The BOA has also suggested the code review should allow national Olympic committees the right to impose tougher sanctions should they choose to do so. It is reckoned Wada will agree to change the new code to increase the length of a ban for a serious offence but will stop short of allowing different Olympic committees to have different sanctions. Either way it will be too late for London 2012.

For Chambers and Miller the ruling means their long wait for a shot at redemption on sport’s biggest stage is all but over. Both men had completed two-year bans after committing doping offences but both were ineligible for Olympic selection because of the BOA bylaw, which meant that any athlete who has been given a doping ban of six months or more would not be selected for Team GB. Guardian service