LONDON, (Reuters) – Former champions Colin Jackson and Daley Thompson hit out at drug cheats yesterday, saying they had wrecked some sports and ruined the reputation of athletics.
“I don’t have any sympathy when it comes to cheats,” Jackson, twice world 110m hurdles champion, said at an anti-doping conference.
Jackson and Thompson, twice Olympic decathlon champion, said athletes who took drugs to enhance their performance should face life-long bans from competition.
“I would always say that a ban is never long enough,” Jackson said, adding that he felt “a sense of hatred” towards athletes who cheated. The Welshman said the actions of competitors such as British sprinter Dwain Chambers had “cast a massive shadow” over the achievements of clean athletes.
In 2003, Chambers was given a two-year athletics ban and a lifetime Olympic ban for using tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, a banned anabolic steroid.
Chambers made a comeback to the sport and won gold over 60m at the European and world indoor championships in 2009 and 2010 respectively, though he remains barred from the Olympics. Thompson said life-long bans were the only way to send a strong message to cheats. “We need to take strong action,” he said. “And if occasionally an innocent person hangs, then that’s the way it is.”
Former 400 metres hurdles Olympic champion Edwin Moses, who was also on the panel, described the problem of doping in sport as an “odious situation” but said he was wary of automatic lifetime bans, saying some athletes might have taken illegal substances inadvertently.
Sporting bodies should use discretion on a case-by-case basis in allowing athletes caught doping to clean up their acts and return to competition drug-free, he said.