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Grey-Thompson wants no second chances

14th February 2008

Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson is advocating a lifetime ban for drug cheats after she was appointed to chair a review into UK Athletics' anti-doping policy.

It was announced the 11-time Paralympic gold medallist will review the governing body's drug programme just as the controversy over Dwain Chambers' selection for Team GB erupted after his victory in the World Indoor trials.

UKA were keen not to pick the sprinter for the trip to Valencia next month but found their hands tied by current selection criteria.

Grey-Thompson is intent on preventing a repeat of the selection wrangle and believes drugs cheats should never again compete for Great Britain.

"My view is that an athlete who takes a banned substance should be banned for life and not be able to run for their country again," she told Setanta Sports News.

"As the rules stand, Dwain is eligible to compete so we have to get on with it, you can't change your mind halfway through the selection process.

"We need to clear up the anomalies in the sport so an athlete knows the consequences of taking drugs.

"A lot of the talk has been tagged on to Dwain Chambers but it's a much wider issue than that. It's about the whole anti-doping issue of athletics."

Grey-Thompson admits, though, that trying to ban former drug cheats like Chambers will be impossible at the moment.

But she is determined those following in the footsteps of the 29-year-old - unless in the very unlikely scenario the World-Anti-Doping Agency impose life sentences across the board - will be hit hard.

"That's not fair, you can't do that, it wouldn't be legal. They have, just as a prisoner, served their sentences," Grey-Thompson said of the current situation.

"Athletes must know through an education programme what they can and cannot do.

"If they decide to take risks and use steroids, they must realise what the punishment will be."

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