Berlin athletics meet to allow UK’s Chambers to compete

Controversial British sprinter Dwain Chambers has said he is delighted to hear the organiser of Berlin's IAAF Golden League meet is prepared to accommodate him for June's star-studded event.

Berlin athletics meet to allow UK's Chambers to compete
Photo: DPA

Gerhard Janetzky, organiser of Berlin’s ISTAF meeting, has told German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel he is prepared to invite the newly-crowned European Indoor champion to the meeting at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on June 14, despite Chambers’ previous doping suspension.

And Chambers is hoping sympathy in Berlin may lead to further invites to other high-profile outdoor meetings this summer ahead of the World Athletics Championships, which will also be held in Berlin in August.

“I’ve just heard, this is good news,” the 30-year-old said on Tuesday. “I’m sure if I do get into Berlin, this will have a roll-on effect for other meetings as well. I’m just looking forward to competing again against the best guys in the world.”

“We haven’t even started looking at the outdoor season, it was important to get my indoor campaign out of the way first. I’m absolutely very grateful to the organisers and I just hope more will follow.”

Chambers set a new European Indoor record on Saturday when he ran 6.42seconds for the 60m at the European Indoor Championships in Turin.

In 2003, he was banned for two years – and from the Olympic Games for life – after failing an out-of-competition drug test for the THG steroid and subsequently admitted using performance-enhancing substances.

Despite his European Indoor success, British athletics bosses have since told him he will not be included in the Great Britain 4x100m squad for August’s World Athletics Championships in the German capital.

Chambers could yet still race at the world championships here if he wins an individual place through the British trial later this summer.

“The inequality of his treatment strikes me as disturbing,” Janetzky told Der Tagesspiegel this week. “I am surprised that Chambers seems to be regarded as the root of all evils. Many athletes have the right to race once they have finished their suspension, so why should Chambers be punished more severely?”

Janetzky has said he is prepared to offer Chambers a place at the ISTAF event despite Europe’s top athletics meetings adopting a resolution in 2008 refusing to invite athletes who have failed doping tests in the past.

But Janetzky said he would have no problem inviting Chambers having already been approached by the athlete’s advisors.

“I do not believe sprinters will boycott Berlin just because of his presence,” added Janetzky, who is hoping to attract triple Beijing gold medallist Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell and America’s Tyson Gay to Berlin for the ISTAF meeting.

But Chambers faces an uncertain future after the International Association of Athletics Federation launched a probe on Monday into his newly-released book.

The British sprinter has stirred up a storm with his book ‘Race Against Me,’ which was released on Monday.

In the book, Chambers has serialised the events that led up to him being banned for two years for testing positive in October 2003. But the revelations have caused concern at the IAAF, who fear he has tarnished the sport’s image.

UK athletics chairman Ed Warner revealed he has been in contact with the governing body about the matter last weekend, and that they will digest the contents of Chambers’ book over the next few days.

For members


EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.