Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Linda Brien: Cheats never win

That is unless you are Dwain Chambers

Athletics is the most ancient of sports. An individual pursuit of physical excellence simply defined by time or distance.

In this day and age it also demands tunnel vision, single-mindedness, supreme confidence and total selfishness.

In fact the holy grail of the PB - the "Personal Best" sums it up pretty well. It screams "All About Me."

Much of the self-absorption is an absolute necessity, of course. Even the most affable of world champions harbour a hard uncompromising edge

But then there are those who pretty much personify the culture in its unpalatable extreme - namely Dwain Chambers.

The convicted drug cheat won at the World Indoor Trials and UK championships last weekend.

So, mindful of the massive controversy surrounding his attendance and his bid to wear a British vest again did he acknowledge his victory in a dignified and respectful manner?

No. Course not. He could hardly contain himself - bouncing about, baring his teeth, beating his chest and punching the air in an adrenaline-fuelled exhibition of self-adulation.

His indulgent outburst suggested no regard for the havoc he once wrought with his drug-taking nor the shame he brought on British athletics, nor implied any sense of remorse whatsoever.

It was all about him.

In fact the latest chapter of Dwain Versus the World has even seen him raise the spectre of legal action. He knows his Rights (as if nobody else's exists) and so UK Athletics are permitting him to wear a British vest again.

I don't see him as a victim, as he now seems to see himself. I certainly don't buy the repentant sinner bit. He cheated. Proper. And the message sent out to anyone that cares to listen is that drugs are almost worth the risk. Just two years and that's IF you get caught.

It's wholly depressing that the confusion and disarray amongst policy makers and their ineffective legislation mean that Dwain Chambers and his ego are allowed a free rein to gallop forth on this self-serving crusade.

Ironically now that he's "clean", he's proving even more destructive to the sport than when he was doing drugs.



Republic caught in a Trapp

Looking forward to seeing what Giovanni Trapattoni can do with the Republic of Ireland.

At 68, he hardly falls into the youthful category, but that wise old head has masterminded seven Serie A titles with Inter Milan and Juventus, trophies in Germany with Bayern Munich, a Portuguese championship with Benfica not to mention a European, UEFA and Cup Winners Cups.

He also doesn't suffer fools and enjoys classical music. For a side needy of leadership and direction he makes a pretty attractive proposition, particularly if Liam Brady can help provide some Paddy power in the wings.



Silence spoke volumes

THE dignified calm inside Old Trafford last Sunday was shattered by what sounded like fireworks being let off, no doubt by some petulant trouble-makers with enough cash to buy Halloweens left-overs but no interest in putting it towards a City season ticket.

The real fans of both red and blue hue were on the inside, standing shoulder to shoulder in a proud and respectful silence.

It was a hugely emotional moment and it wouldn't have mattered had thousands of rockets scorched the skies above Sir Matt Busby Way. No-one was for budging. A fitting tribute.

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