House of Payne: Controversial Chambers deserves more credit
Nothing in sport stirs the emotions such as the word ‘cheat’ and understandably so, writes John Payne.
In a week that has seen New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent admit to taking money as part of cricket corruption and Daryl Impey becoming the latest cyclist to fail a drugs test, it is a subject never far from the public consciousness.
One sportsman who will forever carry that burden is the sprinter Dwain Chambers who still can’t escape the c-word a decade after testing positive for the illegal steroid THG.
Inside athletics, never mind outside it, there are no shortage of opinions on whether it is right Chambers has since represented Great Britain in international events, including the London 2012 Olympics.
But even the most staunch anti-drug campaigners who feel that a two-year ban was insufficient should be able to give some credit for what he has achieved since being caught out in 2004.
Unlike many drugs cheats, Chambers has not only said sorry but has gone out of his way to educate others not to make the same mistakes.
And, while Chambers is still running in the colours of Wimbledon-based Belgrave Harriers, he is a constant reminder to our young sprinters what they need to achieve on the track and avoid off it.
Last weekend the 36-year-old was crowned British 100metres champion for a fifth year in a row in 10.12 seconds – to clinch his place at this summer's European Championships in Zurich.
The man he pipped to the line was Sutton's Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, for whom winning the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and world youth titles have not yet led to similar glories as an adult.
Despite being the second oldest in the race – at 25, Harry AA is still relatively young and there is no reason to think his best days are not still ahead of him.
Chambers will pass on the baton to the younger generation soon, it's a shame he will not get the plaudits his remarkable longevity and dedication deserves.