Sunderland Olympian says lifetime bans for drugs cheats should mean just that

Dwain Chambers
Dwain Chambers
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SUNDERLAND’S Olympian Tony Jeffries says a lifetime ban from the games should mean life.

The 27-year-old bronze medallist boxer spoke out after it was announced that Britain’s former drugs cheats can compete at London 2012 after a court overturned the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) policy of lifetime bans.

Niall Quinn Memory Book 'FILE PIC''01/05/2009 Photographer: PB 'TONY JEFFRIES AT THE WEIGH IN FOR TOMORROW'S FIGHT AT THE CROWTREE LEISURE CENTRE''TONY JEFFRIES WITH SUNDERLAND CHAIRMAN NIALL QUINN

Niall Quinn Memory Book 'FILE PIC''01/05/2009 Photographer: PB 'TONY JEFFRIES AT THE WEIGH IN FOR TOMORROW'S FIGHT AT THE CROWTREE LEISURE CENTRE''TONY JEFFRIES WITH SUNDERLAND CHAIRMAN NIALL QUINN

It means sprinter Dwain Chambers, 34, and cyclist David Millar, 35, can try to qualify for Team GB and it has since been announced that Dwain has been invited to line up against Usain Bolt at his first high-profile grand prix fixture in nearly a decade.

Echoing the views of many who’ve slammed the decision, Tony said: “I think they should keep to their ‘lifetime ban’, like they said they would.”

Tony fears the decision may have far-reaching consequences for sport.

“This may even encourage some athletes to take enhancing drugs if they are not going to get a lifetime ban,” he said.

“Dwain Chambers is obviously a top athlete, but he’s been on enhancing drugs so we don’t know how good he really is. I think it’s a disgrace and he should be banned for life.”

The BOA had been locked into a lengthy legal battle with World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) over what it said was its right to continue imposing lifetime Olympic bans on British athletes, even after they had served suspensions.

In November, Wada ruled this BOA by-law was not compliant with the Wada code, prompting the BOA to appeal against the decision at Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

But Cas has ruled the BOA must comply with Wada, paving the way for British athletes who were banned for life from Olympic competition to be eligible for selection after serving shorter bans.

BOA chairman Lord Moynihan told a news conference: “We will seek far-reaching reform, calling for tougher and more realistic sanctions; a minimum of four years including one Games.”

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