Peter McG, guardian angel of my home in Totnes, Nshorna, her three kids, Kye, D’nae, Milan, and myself parked ourselves in the front room on Saturday afternoon at 16.45 to watch on BBC television the semi –finals of the 100 metres in the UK trials in Birmingham, England, for the Olympic Games in August.

We had a vested interest. Jonathan (Barbour, aged 28), father of D’nae and Milan, had got through the heats to reach the semi-finals.

We also watched with total attention the semi-finals featuring Dwain ChaHe took the two year ban, is paying back money, apologised .. what more can he do? mbers, the controversial athlete, who was banned from athletics for two years in 2003 for a positive drug test while training in the USA. Dwain is a very close friend since their teenage years of Jonathan, who was the first British athlete to win the European 100 metre finals abut six years ago. Dwain is also the godfather of my grandson, Milan (born June 16, 2008 in Torquay).

Running in lane 1, Jonathan failed to reach the finals. Within minutes of the race finishing, he and Nshorna were texting each other. He is currently training to be an athletics coach. Dwain won his race. The 24 athletes, who reached the semi-finals, were now down to eight athletes, the fastest in the UK this year. Only three would be selected for the 100 metres in the Olympic Games in August. To call it tense is an understatement – both for athletes and viewers with a vested interest in the result.

In the finals, Dwain set off at a blistering speed and crossed the finishing line in exactly 10.00 seconds – the fastest time by a UK athlete for a decade. The saga goes on. He does not know if he is on track for Beijing. Years ago, the British Olympic Association (BOA) passed a bylaw to prevent anyone found guilty of taking any performance enhancing drug from participation in the Olympic Games.

Dwain, understandably, has appealed against the by-law. He finished his ban three years ago and is paying back his earnings from running in period immediately before the ban. On Wednesday, Judge McKay will decide in the High Court in London whether to suspend the by-law so a full hearing can be heard in the new year or side with the BOA. The determination of the judge determines whether Dwain’s 20 years of training come to fruition in the Olympic Games or his efforts to represent his country grind to a halt with one month to go.

Various athletes and senior commentators on sport have spoken to the media about “keeping to purity of the sport,” “protecting the reputation of athletics” and “forcing athletes keep to the laws of the game.” Others have shown loving kindness to Dwain’s position. They regard the two year ban as sufficient in a running career that does not last long.

Only two countries, UK and Norway, of the countless countries sending athletes to Beijing, have written a by-law banning any of their athletes convicted of a positive drug test from participation in the Olympic Games. The view of all the Olympic Committees of all the other nations is that once the athlete has served his sentence that is the end of the matter.

Dwain is up against centuries of the puritan and punishment view of English culture found in Judeo-Christian religion, Cromwell, Colonialism, the Victorian era and through until today. If you make mistakes, act irresponsibly in this country, then banishment follows . You can guarantee the institution will use the concepts of “purity” and “reputation” to justify its position. BOA is no exception. Banning of athletes never deterred a tiny percentage of athletes from the desire to win at all costs. It is hardly sporting of the BOA to be so punitive. As a general rule of thumb here, the institution retains hold of the power and the individual suffers the consequences. We’ll find out on Wednesday, July 16.

What athletics institution can’t take away is the fact that Dwain ran 10 metres a second exactly for 100 metres. Breathtaking stuff. He doesn’t even have a trainer… He accepted two year ban, trying to pay back the money and apolgised. What more can he do? It is now time for letting go of the past from the BOA. That is what purity is all about.

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