Myerscough can only watch as wife pursues dream

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The Independent Online

It will surprise many to learn that Dwain Chambers is not the only member of a British athletics club who is on the comeback trail after getting caught out in the Balco drugs scandal.

Much has been made of the Belgrave Harrier sprinter who tested positive in 2003 for tetrahydrogestrinone, the designer steroid manufactured by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in California. He served a two- year suspension and his recent return after a foray into American football has met with strong resistance from UK Athletics.

Much less has been made of the woman who tested positive for THG twice in 2003, and who last summer set a new club hammer record for Blackpool Wyre and Fylde Athletics Club.

There was not very much ado about Melissa Myerscough's appearance for the Lancashire club in a North of England League Division Two fixture at the Witton Park track in Blackburn on 4 August last year – nothing like the circus that accompanied Chambers at the World Indoor Championship Trials in Sheffield two weeks ago.

It passed without notice by the national press or comment by the governing body, but Mrs Myerscough made her mark, winning with a throw of 56.12m. It was a club and league record, and it put the 28-year-old on a stadium record board featuring such great British names from the past as Lynn Davies, Sheila Sherwood, Dorothy Hyman, Bruce Tulloh, Andy Carter, Adrian Metcalfe and Joslyn Hoyte-Smith, a former anti-doping co-ordinator for UK Athletics.

The fact that Mrs Myerscough is not a British athlete means she is free to compete on the Olympic stage on which Hoyte-Smith won a 4 x 400m relay bronze medal in Moscow in 1980. As a US athlete, she is not precluded from Olympic selection, unlike Chambers, who has yet to decide if he will mount a legal challenge to the British Olympic Association by-law barring athletes who have a doping offence on their CV. And unlike her husband.

Back in 2004, Carl Myerscough lodged an unsuccessful appeal against his BOA ban. Last week, like Chambers, he was named in the Great Britain team for the World Indoor Championships, which take place in Valencia from 7 to 9 March. Unlike Chambers, he was not picked with a rider from the selectors pointing out their moral objection to being effectively forced to choose him.

The 6ft 10in shot putter, a Blackpool native and long-time member of the club his wife represented while they were back from their home in the United States, tested positive in 1999 for two anabolic steroids plus an excessive amount of testosterone. He has always maintained he was a victim of sabotage but served a two-year ban, since when he has been called upon to take part in 12 international competitions.

His wife protested her innocence when she tested positive for THG at the US Championships in June 2003, when she was known as Melissa Price. She registered positive again in an out-of-competition test in July 2003, was banned for two years and stripped of her US hammer title.

That she, a member of a British athletics club, can now be free to pursue her Beijing ambitions and that her husband can be picked to compete for Britain outside the Olympic arena, without the kind of official disapproval encountered by Chambers, are two of the grey areas Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson might care to explore as she conducts her anti-doping review on behalf of UK Athletics.

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