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UK Athletics

Radcliffe calls for life bans

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Paula Radcliffe feels improving the tests to catch drug cheats must remain the priority as debate over a life ban from athletics for those found guilty of doping offences goes on.


Sprinter Dwain Chambers, 28, has been selected for the Norwich Union Great Britain team for next week's SPAR European Cup following his return from a two-year suspension after a positive test for the banned designer drug THG [tetrahydrogestrinone].

Radcliffe accepted it was "a very awkward issue" over whether a lifetime ban should be introduced, but felt the rigorous anti-doping test procedure must continue in earnest.


"I think if you willingly and deliberately cheat, cheat other athletes, the public and the sport, then you probably should be banned for life," Radcliffe told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.


"But there are also cases where you are never really sure if somebody was actually guilty - was it a mistake? Did they accidentally take an over-the-counter remedy? - then they could find themselves banned for life.


"It is something which will go on to be debated for a long time, but the most important thing is we concentrate improving the test procedures so we do catch the cheats."


Because of his drugs ban, Chambers will not be allowed to compete at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Radcliffe believes the sprinter, who has twice won the 100m title at the European Cup, deserves "some credit" for the way in which he accepted his position.


She reflected: "Under the rules of the sport at the moment, Dwain has served his ban, and has come back.


"You also have to give him some credit because he is one of the few people who have stood up and said 'I was guilty and this is what I did', admitted to more than he was actually called for, then served his time and has come back.


"The most important thing is we have a strong unified team which gels together and goes to perform well in the European Cup. If they change the rules so it is a lifetime ban, then that is different - but it is not at the moment."

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