Image: Dwain Chambers
Max Nash  /  AP
British sprinter Dwain Chambers leaves the London High Court, Thurdsday July 17, after contesting his ban from competing in the Beijing Olympics. Chambers will find out Friday if he can compete next month.
Associated Press Sports
updated 7/17/2008 12:51:12 PM ET 2008-07-17T16:51:12

LONDON (AP) -Dwain Chambers will find out Friday if he can compete at next month's Beijing Olympics.

Chambers, who served a two-year doping ban from 2003-05, is seeking a temporary injunction against the British Olympic Association, which has a bylaw banning doping violators for life from the games.

After Thursday's hearing in London's High Court, Judge Colin Mackay said he would announce his ruling Friday.

But Mackay questioned whether Chambers has any chance of winning an Olympic medal since nine men have run the 100-meter race faster than him this year. The court also heard that if Chambers is not granted a temporary reprieve against the BOA's bylaw, he could retire.

Chambers' case centers on his trade being restrained by the BOA, with his legal team adding that Chambers had expressed regret for his past behavior and deserved a place in Beijing because he would strengthen Britain's 100-meter squad.

"He represents our best chance of a podium finish in the 100 meters in Beijing,'' barrister Jonathan Crystal said. "There would be no restriction to his selection for any other nation, save possibly Denmark and China.''

But David Pannick, representing the BOA, said there are no direct financial benefits from being an Olympian.

"He cannot show that sportsmen and women are significantly restrained in their trade by the bylaw which only concerns eligibility for an amateur event, which takes place once every four years and for which there is no prize money,'' Pannick said.

Appeal possible
Chambers spoke just once in the hearing, to say that Tyrone Edgar finished fourth in the British trials he won Saturday in 10 seconds.

Edgar and third-place Craig Pickering are vying for the last two berths in the sprint squad. Only runner-up Simeon Williamson has so far been named ahead of Sunday's final deadline to submit the team.

An appeal from either side against the ruling is possible after Friday morning's verdict. Mackay ruled last Thursday that there is not enough time to hear the full case until after Beijing.

"If he doesn't go to Beijing, he'll walk into the sunset,'' Crystal said. "If he does go to Beijing, that will be the springboard for further and better opportunities.''

But the BOA said it is defending the Olympic ideals.

"If you have taken prohibited substances you are simply not a person who should represent this country in a sporting event which is designed to set an example to the sporting youth of this country,'' Pannick said. "It is acceptable because the exclusion applies only to the Olympic Games. It is not a rule which stops Mr. Chambers from competing generally or at any other event.

"It is specifically designed to represent what we understand to be the ethics, ethos and principles of the Olympic Games.''

‘I will respect the judge’s decision’
Chambers was confident before the case that he will be challenging Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell for a medal in the 100.

"I will respect the judge's decision,'' Chambers said Saturday at the British trials, where he won the 100 in 10 seconds flat. "But I strongly believe that decision will go in our favor then I can go and have some fun in Beijing. I've got a confident mind.''

BOA chairman Colin Moynihan, who listened in court, defended the BOA's stance Wednesday.

"Anyone who has been following the Chambers case knows cheating in sport, taking drugs to get a competitive advantage, is unacceptable in the Olympic movement,'' Moynihan said. "We are going to significant lengths to defend our eligibility bylaws on that.

"I have spent my lifetime in sport. I don't think those who knowingly take drugs to cheat their colleagues at sport should be competing in the Olympic Games.''

The 30-year-old Chambers returned to the track this year after serving a two-year doping ban after testing positive for the steroid THG, the drug at the center of the BALCO scandal, in August 2003.

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