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Sprint duo fail in Games bid
The quest to race in Beijing has ended in disappointment for Dwain Chambers and Oscar Pistorius.
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2008 13:18 GMT

Dwain Chambers says he now 'walk into the sunset' [GALLO/GETTY]
They may have had vastly different levels of public support for the campaign to get to the Beijing Olympics but in the end the result for Britain's Dwain Chambers and South Africa's Oscar Pistorius was the same.

Neither will be going to Beijing.

For Chambers, London's High Court refused to grant an injunction against the British Olympic Association's bylaw which bans doping violators for life from the games.

While in South Africa, in a perhaps more straightforward case double-amputee sprinter Pistorius was not chosen to be on South Africa's Olympic team.

Chambers' legal team said it would not appeal the decision.

"The judge has made his decision,'' Chambers said on leaving the court.

Chambers, who won the 100-metre race at last Saturday's British Olympic trials in 10 seconds, served a two-year ban after testing positive for the steroid THG in August 2003.

Britain has until Sunday to submit its final Olympic squad.

Team harmony

In his deliberation, Judge Colin Mackay said Chambers had little chance of winning a medal in Beijing and that it would be unfair to deny an opportunity for a clean athlete to compete.

He added that the harmony of the team would be upset.

Mackay said Chambers' argument of restraint of trade would be unlikely to succeed at a full trial, even if he could argue that there are indirect financial benefits from appearing at the amateur event.

"His 10-second time achieved last weekend is confronted by the fact that there will be nine other athletes in Beijing who have run a faster time this year,'' Mackay said.

Mackay noted with frustration that Chambers only issued the proceeding against the BOA at the "11th hour'' on July 3, meaning that the time to assimilate the arguments was limited.

The arguments were digested in court in a one-day hearing Thursday.

They were earlier submitted in written form.

Tarnished reputation

The BOA had argued that if Chambers succeeded, the British team's reputation would be tarnished and London's ability to deliver the 2012 Games would be impaired because sponsors would be unwilling to invest.

Chambers' lawyer, Jonathan Crystal, told the court Thursday it was "an exaggerated position'' and argued that his client's "redemption and rehabilitation'' after testing positive for THG should be recognised.

Crystal said that not allowing Chambers to compete in Beijing was a restraint of trade, adding that he represented best chance of a podium finish in the 100 in Beijing.

Chambers briefly returned to the track in 2006 after serving his two-year ban and pursued an alternative, but ultimately unsuccessful, foray into American football.

Despite retuning to athletics in March and winning a silver medal in the 60 at the World Indoors, he had a one-month experiment with rugby league and after being released by the Castleford Tigers he pursued the legal route to Beijing.

Oscar Pistorius will now turn his attention to London 2012 [GALLO/GETTY]
Pistorius misses selection

While Pistorius his story had more romance as the double amputee looked to reach the Olympics however after failing to meet the qualifying standard to run in the 400-meter race, Pistorius was also left off the relay team.

Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene said four other South Africans had faster times, and two others were chosen as alternates.

Pistorius has battled with authorities for months, winning an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in May to allow him to compete against able-bodied athletes and more recently facing concerns that he could pose a danger to other athletes.

But Pistorius fell short of the 400 qualifying time of 45.55 seconds.

On Wednesday, he recorded a personal best of 46.25.

'Rules are the rules'

His manager, Peet Van Zyl, said he hadn't heard any official word about the decision.

However, he said considering Pistorius' recent times, he didn't expect the runner to be asked to join the team.

"From the beginning, we knew that he had to qualify,'' Van Zyl said.

"We didn't expect him to be granted any special opportunity or anything. The
rules are the rules.''

The IAAF said Thursday that it fully supported Pistorius' bid to run at the Olympics, despite comments made earlier this week by general secretary Pierre Weiss expressing concerns that Pistorius would pose a danger because of the blade-like prosthetics he uses to run.

The comments "have no effect on the official eligibility of Oscar Pistorius, nor should they be misconstrued as a personal attack on Oscar,'' the IAAF said in a statement.

Source:
Agencies
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