The Long Shadow Of Doping

Posted on: 09 May 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Drugs cheat Dwain Chambers is focused on reviving his athletics career after an unsuccessful trial with rugby league club Castleford Tigers.

Castleford Tigers have decided against offering sprinter Dwain Chambers a permanent contract with the club after a month-long trial came to a close this week.

The 30-year-old, who served a two-year drugs ban from 2003, is now understood to be weighing up a return to competing in athletics meetings at home and abroad.

Chambers tried his hand at rugby league after being frozen out of athletics but the London-born athlete, who had never played the sport before, struggled to cope with the stamina required.

The sprinter's doping past means he is banned from this summer's Olympics in Beijing, however Castleford's decision could force him to the challenge the British Olympic Association's ban on him competing this August.

A BOA law prevents drugs cheats from ever appearing at the Olympics, even after they have served their bans.

But Chambers could yet decide to challenge the BOA's by-law 25 in court in an effort to make the Great Britain team.

Chambers started his trial with Castleford Tigers at the end of March, despite having no previous experience of rugby league.

Both player and club insisted the move was more than just a publicity-stunt, but he made only one appearance for the Tigers' reserves during his month-long stay at The Jungle, though it did attract a bumper 3,000 crowd.

Chambers came off the bench to play on the wing in a friendly against York City Knights on 27th April but found the going tough and was forced off with a shoulder injury.

The Londoner, who came back from his drugs ban to win a silver medal in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships earlier this year, maintained that he was serious about a career in the sport.

Chambers, who has already twice failed to break through into American Football, is now determined to continue training in order to maintain his position as Britain's number one sprinter.

But former team-mate Jamie Baulch says he fears the shamed 100m star will struggle to find fresh success on the track.

Baulch said, "It is hard for him now at the age of 30 as he hasn't got that much time left in the sport.

"I don't know what he is going to do, has he got other skills or is he going to end up working in a coffee shop?"

"Obviously every time he steps on the track now his reputation is very, very tarnished.

"Dwain took the risk of cheating and he has to deal with that. He only has himself to blame."

Baulch now has a number of different companies after retiring from athletics, including a management agency, and the former 400m star has also just been appointed director of performance for Welsh Athletics.

He said, "If Dwain was my client he would be off my books, I wouldn't want someone of that ilk associated to my company.

"The guy is a lovely guy, a nice person but what he did makes him an idiot.

"There may be other possibilities such as television, but he is now tarnished and I can't think of any TV shows that would want him on."

Chambers is still to make a confirmed decision on what path to take next but doors are closing all around him. This time he needs to make sure he chooses the right route or his career will be in tatters.

By Mark O’Haire

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