Keep drug cheats on life bans

Iwan Thomas

wants the British Olympic Association to set an example to the world by sticking with their lifetime bans on drugs — so cheats will not rob clean athletes of glory.

The former European and Commonwealth 400 metres champion, who set a British record of 44.36 seconds in 1997, does not want other athletes to have the “hollow” feeling of being awarded a retrospective medal.

Thomas, along with Roger Black, Jamie Baulch and Mark Richardson were given 4x400m relay golds in 2010 — 13 years late — after Antonio Pettigrew admitted taking performance enhancing drugs in the season leading up to the 1997 world championships.

He said: “What the British Olympic Association have set out is probably right. As an athlete who was affected by it I ran against quite a few cheats who stripped me of medals so I don’t have much time for them.

“I know other countries allow their athletes to compete at the Olympics, but that’s always been our policy. If someone does drugs, they know the risk — that they can’t go to the Olympics.

“In ‘97 we didn’t do the lap of honour, we didn’t have 13 years of being world champions. I know Kris Akabusi and Roger have done well from being world champions in 1991, they have been asked to do speaking and they’re very proud of what they have achieved.

“But the rest of us didn’t have that, we didn’t even have a proper medal ceremony, so it’s pretty hollow really. I can say I’m a world champion but it doesn’t really feel like it.

Thomas also says that the current crop of British athletes will deliver at London 2012. Head coach Charles van Commenee has overseen an upturn in medal prospects of the British team and Thomas thinks they will be ready for a home Games.

The former European and Commonwealth 400 metres champion, who set a British record of 44.36 seconds in 1997, does not want other athletes to have the “hollow” feeling of being awarded a retrospective medal.