British Olympics chiefs intend to stand firm on their controversial rule that imposes life bans on drugs cheats.
The British Olympic Association had promised to review the bylaw that currently offers no way back for convicted athletes following last week’s unsuccessful High Court bid by sprinter Dwain Chambers to be allowed to compete in Beijing next month.
Chambers served a two-year ban imposed after testing positive for designer steroid THG in 2003 and is now back on the track in non-Olympic competitions.
Indeed, the International Olympic Committee, the Games’ governing body, does not impose lifetime bans, allowing convicted cheats to return after missing the next Games. But BOA chairman Lord Moynihan insisted their stance had already given a strong message to future competitors and there were no plans to step into line with the IOC.
Lord Moynihan said: “Last week was a step in the right direction for this country and for the BOA. The bylaw is consistently under review but if anybody thinks I have had members of the IOC ringing me saying we should move away from the eligibility bylaws, that absolutely hasn’t happened.
“I hope that one of the lessons that came out of last week was that the consequence of taking drugs is that you will not be a member of Team GB in 2012 or any future Games so should there have been individuals considering it, they would have received a very clear lesson last week”
Moynihan cited comments made by Scottish cyclist David Millar, who has previously been banned for substance abuse, following the Chambers case. He said: “It was interesting listening to David Millar, who said that the world is moving from a culture where drug-taking was commonplace and close to the norm to a world where it is absolutely rejected.
“In effect, what we are seeing is a recognition that if you take drugs to enhance performance in the Olympic movement in this country, then you are out.”
Lord Moynihan, who won a silver medal in the 1980 Moscow Games as the cox in the Great Britain rowing eights, declined to predict how successful British competitors would be in Beijing and in London in four years’ time.
Umbrella organisation UK Sport has already declared it wants 35 medals next month, including a double-figure gold haul, which would see Britain finish eighth.
Lord Moynihan admitted the 2012 target was a fourth-place finish but added a note of caution. He said: “I am not going to get into the predictions game because when I look back at Athens four years ago and the five gold medals we had, if you took all of the times and worked out the difference between the five silvers, it added up to 0.545 of one second.
“If anyone is able to crystal-ball gaze to that accuracy, I will come with them to Ladbrokes after lunch.”