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Highlighting the fight against drugs in sport

Major launch to highlight fight against drugs in sport

The country’s leading sports stars have joined forces with the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency in the global fight to stamp out drugs in sport.

A special video featuring leading players and athletes will be launched by the agency in Auckland on March 21.

Top sports personalities who took part in the making of the video will attend the launch and press conference at Tamaki College’s Recreation Centre at 1pm, Friday, March 21.

``This video will benefit all the country’s promising elite athletes and players who attend the compulsory seminars which teach them about the dangers of drugs in sports,’’ agency executive director Graeme Steel said today.

``The seminars are a key part of the agency’s education of young athletes. This video will be a great help to them and to us.’’

Minister for Sport and Education Trevor Mallard will attend the launch.

Athletes who appear in the video include Silver Ferns netball captain Anna Rowberry, athlete Valerie Adams, powerlifter and paralympian George Taamaru, soccer Kingz’ Harry Ngata, weightlifter Nigel Avery, world rowing champions Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell, All Black Kees Meeuws, cyclist Sarah Ulmer, Warriors rugby league stars Monty Betham, Stacey Jones, Wairangi Koopu and Ali Lauiti’iti and also coaches Tab Baldwin and Daniel Anderson.

The video is presented by former Black Fern and media personality, Melodie Robinson, now a Board member of the Agency. The agency’s newly appointed chairman Professor Dave Gerrard said the video would be ``a major step forward in our education initiatives and will appeal particularly to young athletes’’.

The video gives a clear and unequivocal message and provides an upbeat and engaging introduction to anti-doping seminars, Steel said.

``It was produced following discussions with athletes about how best to get the agency’s message across. The importance of this message has been emphasised by recent high profile cases in New Zealand (Joe McDonnell) and Australia (Shane Warne).

The video uses only athletes and coaches to deliver the message about the fight against drugs in sport. It touches on the banned list of drugs and testing procedures for athletes.

``The recent cases (Warne and McDonnell) highlight the crucial need for athletes to know the rules,’’ Steel said. ``We will continue to take a pro-active educative role in supporting clean athletes in contrast to the perceived role of being just a drug police catching cheats,’’ he said.

The World Anti-Doping Agency agreed in Copenhagen last week on a new world code for handling all issues relating to drugs in sport and education is a key element within that code.

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