Dwain Chambers, who will meet his lawyers today to see if he can secure himself an Olympic future, was reminded yesterday that his shorter term prospects of competition appear barren as Europe's leading promoters reiterated their policy of excluding any athletes who have served serious doping bans.
The 29-year-old Londoner, who secured a World Indoor Championship 60m silver medal in a personal best of 6.54sec on Friday night in what was his first event since his victory in the trials on 9 February, is desperate to regenerate a career that has been interrupted first by a two-year suspension for steroid abuse, and then an abortive American Football career.
But his chances of getting into any major European meeting this season were rendered negligible as the Euromeetings group of promoters declared after a spring assembly attended by around half of the 51 members that they had unanimously agreed to uphold their exclusion of any athletes who could cause the sport "negative publicity" by competing.
The promoters, however, were careful not to present their wishes as forming any kind of cartel, believing that any threat of legal challenge will be lessened if decisions to invite or not invite athletes are taken on an individual basis.
Three of the biggest meetings, in London, Oslo and Stockholm, are already operating such a policy.
Patrick Magyar, meet director of the Weltklasse Golden League event in Zurich, warned Chambers that he could expect little support for his ambition to run in Europe.
"I don't know him as a person, but I know he has made money from the sport," Magyar said. "I don't think he can expect much sympathy as he has harmed the sport massively."
Magyar agreed that Chambers and others in his situation faced being driven out of the sport. "If he can't compete, he has a problem," he said. "He had the opportunity two years ago of resuming his career then went into another sport and failed."
Chambers, meanwhile, is expected to mount a legal challenge this week to the British Olympic Association's byelaw, which has existed since 1992, which bans any athletes who have served serious doping bans from competing at the Olympics.
Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, expressed his support for the BOA position on Friday, adding that the IOC would be introducing their own Games ban on any athlete incurring a doping ban of six months or more from the summer. But other influential voices – including Dick Pound, the Canadian lawyer and former president of the World Anti Doping Agency – are warning that the British position may prove untenable if Chambers contests it in the High Court.
However things turn out for him, Chambers has certainly gained real satisfaction from his performance here. "I'm smiling now more than I did when I ran 9.87 when I won the European Championship because I knew then that I wasn't playing by the rules," he said. "But now I am."
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