Inside Lines: Call for inquiry into whether Chambers still cheats system

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The Independent Online

There is growing concern among senior sports figures that Dwain Chambers is still cheating the system – albeit inadvertently.

Professor Arne Ljungqvist, who heads the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, is among those who believe that the sustained doping the sprinter underwent with his Balco buddies, with whom he is still in touch, gives him a permanent advantage over rivals.

And there are now calls for a thorough investigation by sports authorities into the long-term effects of steroid abuse following a Finnish report that powerlifters who took drugs maintained their increased strength for years. Michele Verroken, the former UK Sport drugs chief, says: "There has to be some serious research into this because of the implications on all sports. It is not just the muscle-building but the residual effect of being able to train harder while taking them.

" Her view is echoed by Tom McNab, the former GB athletics and bobsleigh coach, who cites the case of a champion long jumper who remained at her peak for over a decade after leaving the East German system. He says: "There is no telling the long-term mental and physical advantage for Chambers, which is why I've always believed if you test positive you should be out for good."

Protection racket

Following recent events in Pakistan, security at sports gatherings will be massive – and costly. So the protection business is hardly likely to be hit by the recession, as the Boxing Writers' Club have discovered. Booking their annual dinner at a Mayfair hotel, they were told they must fork out £160 apiece for two security guards. It was gently pointed out that, with fistfuls of Britain's finest bruisers in attendance, the guests were more than capable of looking after themselves.



Sparkes ignites gas explosion

Those big-league sports struggling to find sponsorship in these straitened times should have a word with David Sparkes, the lively chief of British Swimming. He has just extracted £15 million from British Gas, believed to be the biggest backing for aquatics anywhere in the world, which should keep the buoyant sport's head above water well beyond 2012. Sparkes admits the Adlington effect has been "incredibly helpful", but points out that the prime objective is to help promote mass participation. Let's hope the authorities respond by ceasing the mass closure of pools.



Chris's family cross

There has been a lively spat between the family of the late Olympic gold medallist Chris Finnegan and the trade paper 'Boxing News'. In an obituary, the paper published a photo of Finnegan with "his beloved sweetheart Cheryl". Only it wasn't Finnegan's wife but the blonde boxing promoter Beryl Cameron-Gibbons. The furious Finnegans barred the apologetic journal from Friday's funeral.



Hitler's Olympic diary

Sport and the footlights are not usually the most comfortable of bedfellows, but the exception is a play about the Berlin Olympics by the aforementioned Tom McNab. Titled '1936', it recreates the build-up to the most contentious of Games, showing how Adolf Hitler (left), who had little interest in sport, was persuaded by his henchman Joseph Goebbels into using the Games to advance his Nazi ideals. There are performances at the Clockhouse, Croydon, on Thursday and Windsor's Firestation Theatre on Friday.



insidelines@ independent.co.uk

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