Dwain's world caves in but real victims are those who show clean pair of heels

It was good to get back on home ground up in the north-east corner of England last weekend. Friday and Saturday in Birmingham had been far from satisfying, covering the latest developments in the Dwain Chambers Circus. All year it had been burgeoning into what became the only show in town at the Olympic trials. Or so it seemed, what with as many television crews as paying punters in the stands of the Alexander Stadiumfor the opening heat of the men's 100 metres on Friday evening.

Sunday in Hexham was a blessed relief – far from the madding media crowds in Birmingham on Saturday and from the ignoble strife of Big Bad Dwain's ultimately doomed bid to make it to Beijing. Contrary to the perception projected by the preoccupation with the Chambers affair, and the blight that drugs has inflicted on athletics, there are noble characters at the sharp end of track and field. Lots of them. They have become victims of the drawn-out saga of Dwain's World, their deeds overshadowed and under-appreciated.

Chief among them is (or has been) Dean Macey – Deano, the ebullient, engaging, effing and blinding Ronseal man of the decathlon, who calls it as it is on the tin, more often than not in language on the colourful side of crude. There he was at 10am in tranquil Hadrian's Wall country on Sunday, pulling on a Great Britain vest for the 110m hurdles, the opening event on day two of the decathlon at the Hexham Combined Events International.

There were little more than two men and a dog in the compact Tynedale Athletics Park – some 97, dotted around the arena – and the peal of church bells was in the air.

The Sunday morning serenitywas jolted by the scream that Macey emitted as he crossed the finish line and collapsed on to the grass bank in agony. It transpired that the Commonwealth decathlon champion had torn his right groin in the long jump the previous day and had been given four injections to keep him going. Still, as he limped back on to his feet in an acutely painful state, it was a wonder that the former lifeguard managed to get himself back down the track to collect his kit, let alone drag his battered body through the remaining four events: discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m.

Macey's chance of achieving an Olympic qualifying score had gone but he battled through to the end – and emerged as the winner, too. "Showed a lot of them whippersnappers how to do a decathlon," he said, wincing as he struggled to stretch down and remove his socks.

There was a Sean Tough of Montrose among the beaten whippersnappers but Macey has always been a true Tough of the Track, bringing more than a touch of Alf Tupper, the comic-book hero, to the professional world of the athletics arena.

As he hobbled off into the Northumberland sunset, ready to announce his retirement at the age of 30, the injury-cursed Canvey Islander warranted a far greater fanfare than the muted one he was subsequently accorded amid the media's still-mounting Chambers fever. If there is any sympathy going, now that the tainted sprinter's Olympic fate has been sealed by the High Court, it should not be for Chambers but for those who have suffered – directly or indirectly – as a result of his mis-guided drug-fuelled actions.

True, it is not entirely just that Chambers should be barred from Beijing while reinstated drug offenders will be strutting their stuff on the Olympic stage, for less principled nations than Great Britain naturally. Torri Edwards, the American who heads the world rankings in the women's 100m, tested positive for the banned stimulant nikethamide in 2004. She has served a two-year ban but is free to go for gold in Beijing. Then there is Katerina Thanou, who was last week named in the provisional Greek track-and-field squad for the Games – yes, the same Katerina Thanou whose dodging of the drug testers caused such a storm on the eve of the Athens Olympics.

Still, it is the clean athletes who will have to face the Edwardses and the Thanous in Beijing who ought to be considered first when it comes to talk of track-and-field justice – athletes such as Montell Douglas, the Londoner who broke Kathy Cook's 27-year-old British 100m record at Loughborough on Thursday with the barest of public recognition. And Kelly Sotherton, whose shot at heptathlon gold could be scuppered by Lyudmilla Blonska, another reinstated drugs cheat.

Dwain Chambers, lest it be forgotten, crossed a Rubicon when he got in league with Victor Conte and ingested a cocktail of drugs potent enough to turn a Mr Edward Hyde into a Dr Henry Jekyll. The victims remain those who continue to be cheated by the charlatan alchemists who have plundered tarnished gold – as Kathy Cook was by the female speed merchants churned out by the steroid-driven East German athletics machine a quarter of a century ago.

As a starry-eyed sprinter in my own youth, I recall the guest coach at a training camp snatching a corned beef sandwich from my mouth and telling me: "Athletes don't put rubbish in their bodies. They eat brown bread, not white." He was my hero back then in 1975, David Jenkins, the holder of the British 400m record. Twelve years later he was jailed for masterminding a $70 million (£35m) steroid-smuggling ring in the United States.

Outside the High Court last Friday, there were probably no mournful kids imploring: "Say it ain't so, Dwain." Sadly, they knew it was so a long time ago.

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit