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Cannabis dominate agency positives says NZSDA

December 15, 200

Cannabis dominate agency positives says NZSDA

New Zealand athletes are not getting the message about cannabis use the New Zealand Sports Drug Agency (NZSDA) said today.

The NZSDA agreed at its December meeting that too many top athletes were using cannabis.

In the calendar year so far the agency has entered 12 names on its register of athletes with doping infractions, seven of those results relating to cannabis, the NZSDA said.

“There is an ongoing debate about whether cannabis should be on the testing list but so long as it is there athletes must understand that they are jeopardising their careers if they continue to use it,” said board chairman and newly appointed member of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s medical committee Professor David Gerrard.

The agency hopes that in releasing these figures earlier than usual it will help get the message across to athletes who might be tested over the summer season. Other matters considered by the board included the case of cyclist Jeremy Yates.

The board expressed its deep concern over the circumstances which permitted him to continue competing long after his positive test was known to Belgian authorities and even after the violation was confirmed.

“This is not the way a credible system should work.” Gerrard said.

“Once a serious offence has been proven there should be no question of other competitors having to compete against an athlete who has benefited from doping.” The agency has requested the World Anti-Doping Agency to look into the case with a view to ensuring that the flaws apparent in the handling of the affair are not repeated in the future.’’

On a more positive note the agency welcomed the opportunity to speak with gold medal cyclist Sarah Ulmer for an hour and accept her offer of assisting with the agency’s anti-doping work.

“Sarah is a tremendous example of all the best things in sport and the agency looks forward to using her, and possibly other high profile athletes, in its on going education work” he said. Finally the Agency welcomed Auckland lawyer Mike Heron to its board following the decision of Sports Minister Trevor Mallard to fill a vacant fifth position.


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