Illegal Steroid Probe Uncovers 80 New Zealand Athletes Who Are Allegedly Doping
An investigation into illegal steroids "uncovered alleged widespread cheating in New Zealand sport," with up to 80 athletes allegedly caught up in a doping investigation, according to Dylan Cleaver of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. The scope and results of the investigation are unprecedented and have the "ability to tarnish the country's reputation" as a "clean" sporting nation. The athletes came to the attention of investigators "after their details were allegedly found in the database of a Christchurch man convicted and jailed for selling steroids via the internet." They now face "possible sanctions if found guilty of anti-doping rule violations." The WADA Code, which was updated in '15 to allow for harsher penalties, "offers a wide range of sanctions, which can be backdated." NZ Sport CEO Peter Miskimmin said, "It is a massive wake-up call." The cases feature a range of sports, but it is understood that rugby players "make up a significant portion" -- more than 40% -- of those who now face potential sanctions. No All Blacks or Olympians are among those "caught in the sting" (NZ HERALD, 12/9).
BE AWARE: STUFF's Marvin France reported New Zealand Rugby Players Association CEO Rob Nichol said that recreational athletes "need to be made more aware of the risks associated with banned substances." He is "confident the elite level of the game has not been infiltrated by a proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs." Nichol said that the NZRPA, which represents elite rugby players, was "supporting one person who was involved in the situation, but was not playing at the time." But he said that the "main concern is around recreational sports people," or "weekend warriors," who do not receive the same amount of education as top-line athletes. Nichol: "As far as we're aware we're not sitting on a whole lot of cases where our contracted players are part of this. It's very much non-contracted, non-elite athletes who have gone online to a website and rather naively chosen to purchase what are regarded as banned substances" (STUFF, 12/9).