Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards says cheats deserve second chance


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The Independent Online

Drug cheats like Dwain Chambers and David Millar will be welcomed back in to Team GB with open arms if the BOA's bylaw on lifetime bans is scrapped next week, according to former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed yesterday that they will announce their verdict on whether the BOA's lifetime ban for doping is illegal next week.

The BOA expect to lose the case, which has been brought by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), meaning the likes of Chambers and Millar look set to represent Britain at this summer's Olympics despite having taken performance-enhancing drugs in the past.


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With most British athletes apparently supporting a lifetime ban, the return of Chambers and Millar could upset a number of clean Team GB members, but Edwards thinks otherwise.

"I think it's really a bit of a non-issue because Dwain Chambers has been competing for UK Athletics for the last five years and David Millar has been competing with British Cycling for a large number of years," said Edwards, speaking at the London 2012 anti-doping lab in Harlow, Essex, yesterday.

"He was team captain when Mark Cavendish won the World Championships so I don't think there is going to be any issue in terms of incorporating these athletes back into the team.

"(BOA chairman) Lord Moynihan has said they will be welcomed back with open arms."

London 2012 chairman Seb Coe is a vehement supporter of the BOA by-law, but Edwards, who is on the organising committee's board, is not.

"Athletes should get a second chance. I wouldn't personally support a lifetime ban," said Edwards, who won gold in Sydney 12 years ago.

"The reason the BOA brought their by-law is that because four-year bans for a serious drug offence turned into two. Two years is simply not enough. It's too lenient. It sends out the wrong kind of message.

"An athlete should miss one Olympic cycle if they test positive for drugs.

"What the world needs to do is to unite and introduce four-year bans. Then we would be in a much stronger position."

WADA officially gave its seal of approval to the Harlow lab yesterday by confirming the facility will be the centre for drug sample analysis during the Games.

GlaxoSmithKline have spent £20million on the lab in the hope that it will help make London 2012 the cleanest Games in history.