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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform