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World anti-doping code key to clean sport in 2003

World anti-doping code key to clean sport in 2003

The fight against drugs in sport will be stepped up next year with further steps toward a single world anti-doping code, New Zealand Sports Drug Agency Executive Director Graeme Steel said today. The move to setting up a global code is a crucial step in the fight against drug use possibly – possibly the most significant issue facing sport, he said.

``One of the greatest concerns of New Zealand athletes is that things might be clean at home but they fear when they compete internationally they can never be sure their opponents are drug-free. ``That is why the work of the new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is so important. The code is essential to provide a framework for agreeing to procedures and ultimately providing levelling the playing field.’’

A second draft of the code is being circulated for comment and a final draft will be presented to a world conference in Denmark in March 2003 for final approval.

A major concern among sports organisations has been the variability of testing procedures, hearing processes and sanctions.

WADA was set up to solve the problems and they have developed a draft world anti-doping code which all sporting organisations and governments will be expected to sign up to or recognise in some way.

``Failure to do so could see sports or countries ultimately eliminated from the Olympic Games and other major competitions,’’ Steel said.

The new code will help solve many of the problems which the NZ Sports Drug Agency faces in trying to run a testing programme for more than 40 sports each with its own set of rules and requirements.

It will also possibly create challenges for the anti-doping system in New Zealand forcing changes to the agency’s legislation and calling for stricter controls on the import of banned products and the labelling of supplements.

New Zealand has been a strong advocate for a new anti-doping code and the NZ Sports Drug Agency Chairman David Howman has a seat on the board of WADA and chairs its legal committee.

Mr Howman said it was important for New Zealand’s reputation that ``we continue to be a leader’’ internationally in anti-doping policy and procedure.

In the last financial year to June, the agency carried out a record 1481 drug tests across 44 sports. These resulted in 13 positive tests or refusals. These resulted in 13 positive tests or refusals.

A total of 320 tests (two positives - for pseudoephedrine, commonly contained in cold remedies) were carried out in rugby.

A survey of 200 leading New Zealand sports men and women this year found most people were happy with the effectiveness of the testing as a deterrent to drugs in sports.

A total of 75 percent of athletes in high priority sports said performance enhancing drugs were being used by overseas competitors in their sports.

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