This story is all over the papers and news at the moment, and to be honest I feel a little bit sorry for him.

I’m not a fan of drugs at all, and I’m not a fan of people who cheat so it should follow that I’m not a fan of Dwain Chambers either - but it’s not as simple as that.

This story shouldn’t really be about Chambers, he’s just unlucky enough to have become the face of the problem.  And it’s a problem which shouldn’t really have arisen.

The basic principle of any legal system, or indeed any decent society, is that there are laws or rules and also for anyone found to have broken those rules there is a list of punishments which are meted out depending on which rule is broken.

It is up to the governing body of the country or in this case the sport of athletics to decide what punishment is suitable for each crime and every competitor who enters their competitions should do so in the knowledge that if they are caught breaking a rule then they can expect to receive these punishments.

This has caused some controversy in other sports such as Formula One where the governing body seems to just make up their punishments as they go along which is hardly a fair way to do things.

But in athletics there seems to be a more structured approach to what can go wrong and how to deal with it.

Without getting into too much detail, Dwain Chambers, among others, was caught out by random drugs tests which showed he had used a substance to improve his performance and thereby improve his chances of success.

This obviously cannot be tolerated or condoned and he was rightly found guilty and the appropriate punishment was handed out - a two year ban from all competitions.

Most athletes would have simply walked away from the sport with their tail between their legs, but Chambers kept himself in good condition and even had a short spell playing American Football before returning to competitive athletics in the last year after his ban had ended.

It’s not his return to competition which has upset and angered so many, it’s the fact that he has returned and is beating everyone else that’s getting up people’s noses.

I can understand the anger of his fellow athletes in as much as they have devoted their lives to the sport and have competed without the aid of performance enhancing drugs, yet their view is that he has cheated his way to the top.

And that’s a fair view - in the past at least.  But what about now?

If he really is clean then why shouldn’t he be competing and representing his country?  The rules say he can so he isn’t doing anything wrong in trying his best to be the best - in fact shouldn’t we be applauding his spirit and willingness to keep on pushing to get back on form?

It would appear the people in charge of British athletics are far from pleased that he has put them in this position of having to pick him for the British team, but they made the rules so they have to abide by them just as much as the athletes do.

If someone breaks a rule or a law, whether in sport or in life, then if they serve the punishment for it then effectively their slate is wiped clean.  However, if they are given a second chance and mess that up too by repeat offending then the punishment for that second offence should be more severe than that for the first and so on.

In this case Chambers has apparently learnt his lesson and claims he will not reoffend, and until anyone can prove otherwise I think he should be taken at his word.

Like I said before, I can understand the anger felt by some ex-athletes who have been very vocal in their opposition to him competing again but until the rules change then Chambers is quite within his rights to carry on.

His journey back from his darkest days has been a lot bumpier than some other sportsmen.  The highest profile in this country would be David Beckham I would think - after he was sent off playing for England, only for him to overcome the boo-boys to get back to playing his best, even better than he did before.  At the time it was unthinkable that he would play for England again let alone be their captain, so should that story not be an inspiration to others who have wandered off the right path?

Taking drugs in the knowledge that you are deliberately cheating is perhaps a more serious offence than simply lashing out at an opponent as Beckham did, but others such as Eric Cantona who attacked a fan during a match for Manchester United have faced lenghty bans and yet were welcomed back on their return.

Chambers must have expected some harsh treatment, but the fact that he has received very little support, at least publicly, must really play on his mind.  To get to the top in sport you have to not only be talented but also incredibly focused and single minded so this opposition may in actual fact be helping to spur him on in an effort to overcome all his obstacles.

Drug cheats must be hounded out of athletics, and indeed all other sports, and the only way of doing so is to make the punishments so severe that they will make people think twice before embarking on such foolishness.  Whether it should be a “one strike and you are out” policy which is what the Chambers-haters are protesting for at the moment, I’m not so sure as I think everyone deserves a second chance.

What would have really annoyed me about Dwain Chambers is not what he did so much as what he said at the time - he justified his actions by reckoning it was impossible to win a medal without taking drugs, which many other people have proved to be wrong.  A statement like that tarnishes the name of every winner though as people will always have doubts at the back of their mind - especially when a big name athlete such as Linford Christie ends up also falling a test at the latter stages of his career as well.

In my view Chambers was stupid to have done and said the things he did - at the time he presumably knew he wasn’t capable of being the best in the world and was desperate enough to win that he would do so at any cost.  Whether he truly believed everyone else was also taking drugs, or whether he simply convinced himself of this as some form of justification, we will never know.  I think he should be admired for the way he has come back though, and while he will always be associated with his earlier cheating he has already gone some way to redeeming himself in my eyes at least.

Unfortunately for him, it would appear that those who really matter, the other athletes and their governing body, don’t agree.