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Top NZ athletes back NZSDA drug testing

High proportion of top NZ athletes back NZSDA drug testing

A high proportion of top sports people say they support the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency’s current testing programme.

A confidential survey of 250 leading New Zealand sports men and women this year found most athletes were happy with the effectiveness of the testing as a deterrent to drugs in sports.

Survey figures show that 79 percent of athletes are satisfied that the agency’s programme is effective, while only six percent are dissatisfied. Key results of the survey were released by the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency today.

The agency, which commissioned the study carried out last month, said that just one percent of athletes surveyed were dissatisfied with the attitude of the agency official taking samples.

Eighteen percent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that performance enhancing drugs were being used within their sport in New Zealand. However 66 percent said performance enhancing drugs were being used by overseas competitors in their own sport.

``Those who believe drugs are being used, particularly by overseas athletes, remains a big concern,” NZSDA executive director Graeme steel said today.

The survey found 63 percent of athletes said enough effort was being put into controlling the use of drugs in sport in New Zealand and only 9% thought the reverse.

Of those surveyed, 67 percent said they had at some stage been drug tested by the agency. But only 27 percent thought it was `very likely’ they would be drug tested during competition in the next year. The vast majority (79 percent) of respondents said athletes names should be made public if they were caught using performance enhancing drugs.

Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said athletes suspected of taking banned substances should be targeted for testing. A total of 86 percent said the NZSDA should be allowed to take blood samples if they could be used to find drugs which current methods could not detect.

“The Agency is encouraged by the general message from the 250 athletes surveyed from all the major sports that we are doing a competent job of testing as a deterrent to drugs in sports. However there are clearly some things we need to do better,” Steel said.

The athletes offered strong continued support for the testing programme and its effectiveness which was an endorsement for the agency given the current environment of controversy internationally and claims that athletes are not being fairly dealt with.

Copyright 2004 Word of Mouth Media NZ

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