Ashia Hansen has called for self-confessed drugs cheat Dwain Chambers to be allowed to continue with his athletics career free from the public dischord that has soured his return to the sport.
The 36-year-old Birchfield Harrier, who announced her return to competitive athletics will take place in Hania, Crete on June 7, believes the disgraced sprinter has ‘served his time’ and should now be left to concentrate on rebuilding a one of the most controversial careers in modern sport.
Chambers is in the process of meeting with UK Sport officials to help them with their fight against doping and has already disclosed graphic details of how he beat the system until he tested positive in October 2003.
He is also weighing up the possibility of legally challenging a British Olympic Association by-law that prevents him from going to Beijing and needs all the friends he can get - of which Hansen will be one.
"He has done his time, let him get on with it," the triple jumper said. "I don’t understand the whole hoo-ha around it because there are other people who have been on a ban, have come back and have been left alone. Why are we using Dwain as a scapegoat?
"It was about the whole Balco thing," she said in reference to the San Francisco based laboratory that sourced drugs for Chambers and many other leading athletes. "That’s why the issue has been blown up as much as it has. He is being very unfairly crucified.
"Dwain was always a talented athlete. He didn’t need the drugs. He would have got there anyway without that. He just didn’t need to go on it."
Meanwhile, the former world indoor triple jump record-holder Hansen is determined to make the British team for this year's Olympic Games despite a lengthy lay-off because of injuries.
Hansen has had a torrid time with injuries over the last four years which have largely ruled her out of sustained competitive action. She will start her campaign for selection next month in what will be her her first competition since February of last year.
"This will definitely be my final chance to get to the Olympics," said Hansen, who suffered a horrific knee injury two months prior to the 2004 Games. "I was disappointed to miss out on Athens after being at Sydney back in 2000. There's no way I feel too old to be gunning for Beijing. You just have to look at Jonathan Edwards and see what he achieved at a similar age to me now."
She revealed he has been completely injury-free for several months now and has really stepped up her training. Hansen added: "I've been in full training now since January and I feel no ill effects from any of my previous injuries.
"I'm really looking forward to see how things go in my season opener. I'm heading to Crete on June 7 for my first jump in Chania. Depending on how I do there and how others jump, will dictate what competition I follow up in.
"The rebuilding process has been lengthy but not once did I ever think of giving up. I love the sport too much. The lure of Beijing has kept me going."
Hansen joined sprinter Jeanette Kwakye today at Birmingham's Harvey Nichols store to launch the Aviva National Championships incorporating the Team GB Selection Trials. The meeting takes place at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium on July 11, 12 and 13.