Shot to Nothing

Saturday, January 26, 2008

UK Athletics Continues To Stumble Around Like A Drunk

Logging on to, the official website for the "Governing Body for the Sport of Athletics in the United Kingdom", tells you everything you need to know about their competency as a sporting administration.

On the front page, right next to their flashy logo, is a picture of Jason Gardner.

That's Jason Gardner the former sprinter. The one who retired in August 2007.

Perhaps we shouldn't expect much from an organisation that has single-handedly destroyed track and field in this country since it took over control of the sport in 1999. But a picture of a current athlete on the front page would be a start.

Todays decision by UK Athletics to block fallen sprinter Dwain Chambers from the GB indoor trials, is yet another sign of the shocking double standards that this organisation displays. Incapable of guiding our wealth of young talent onto the international stage, UK Athletics has turned to doing anything it can to justify itself as a governing body.

First we had the selection of injured athlete Becky Lynn to the World Championship team in place of Jenny Meadows, an athlete who had beaten her in both occasions where the two met, during the season. The choice was made due to Lynn's performance two years previously and Dave Collins desperation for medals of any colour to come Britain's way. Fortunately Lynn was forced to pull out and Meadows got the place she so thoroughly deserved.

Not long after we had the horrendous decision, made by Performance Director (and all-round bad hiring) Dave Collins, to pick Christine Ohuruogu for the 2007 World Athletics Championships. Ohuruogu had just returned from a one year ban for missing three drugs tests in 18 months. Just 24 days after coming off her suspension, she ran a personal best to win the 400m and was shamelessly portrayed as a hero by UK Athletics and the BBC.

The result of this race brought a storm of controversy to a country that used to pride itself of the legitimacy of it's athletes. Later in the year and in a further attempt to grab medals, Ohuruogu's ban from from running in the Olympic Games was overturned. Had she finished forth in the World Championships, her ban would never have been overturned. This has led to further international uproar and British athletes everywhere have found themselves under intense scrutiny.

And now the farce continues as UK Athletics targets Dwain Chambers in attempt to dampen criticism of their policy towards Ohuruogu. Dwain Chambers was banned for 2 years for use of THG in 2003 and after a spell in the now defunct NFL Europa, wishes to make a comeback. The malice shown towards Chambers by UK Athletics goes above and beyond any action they have previously taken to an athlete who was caught cheating. The reasons for this are two-fold:

1) Dwain Chambers was the former golden boy of UK Athletics. He was their darling, their big hope and their former GB captain. He was the successful athlete that others aspired to be and was promoted as a role model (another superb decision) by UK Athletics. When he tested positive the impact on the rest of the British team was catastrophic and British athletics has never quite recovered. Clearly UK Athletics still blame him for their own short comings.

2) Dwain Chambers made the grave error of admitting his drugs use. Whilst the majority of cheating athletes protest innocence when caught, citing such things as sabotage, Chambers was upfront and honest from the get go. His repayment for telling the truth? To be outcast by UK Athletics and attacked by them in the press.

How much longer must we, the true fans of British Athletics, see our sport ruined by the organisation that governs it? How many more stories will we read of double standards and ill-conceived attacks on athletes that are shaped by UK Athletics, yet spurned by them when the shit hits the fan?

I for one, have had enough of this fiasco. I hereby call for the head officials of UK Athletics to be sacked and replaced by competent administrators. I call for Dave Collins to be sacked and replaced by someone (anyone) with a shred of intelligence. Former athletes are not always the best choice to run a sport as they often lack the skills needed to bring about successful administration. What we need is business minded, fans of the sport to run things behind the scenes and get us the results that, judging by the standard of our juniors, we should be seeing.

[BBC Sport]

[UK Athletics]

Labels: , ,


At 6:33 pm, Anonymous Jake945 said...

I couldn't agree more. It's a sorry state of affairs.

At 9:15 pm, Anonymous trackmom said...

Can you share any information regarding Youth athketics in the UK? Sites Standings



At 10:25 am, Anonymous Sanchez said...


This site lists the rankings for all UK based youth athletes -

And this site is the official annual UK schools games site -

Hope that helps!

At 5:33 am, Anonymous trackmom said...

Thanks so much,I'll be back!!

At 5:54 am, Anonymous trackmom said...

Do youth ages 7 to 10 run in meets leading to Championships? We have USATF and AAU age group starting about 7.
It appears that the UK runs in 3 year age groupings is this the case?


Post a Comment

<< Home