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Review backs sports supplements programme

Review backs sports supplements programme

26 August, 2011

An extensive and thorough independent review of the New Zealand Academy of Sport’s nutrition supplements programme has found it to be both sound and valuable.

The independent review was commissioned by SPARC and carried out by prominent sports lawyer Tim Castle.

SPARC Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin has welcomed the review’s findings.

“The review tells us the programme is doing exactly what it should be doing - providing athletes with access to a safe and reliable source of supplements,” he said.

“Some concerns had been raised about the programme, and we felt the review was necessary to give athletes confidence in the advice and products they’re receiving. The review has done that, by confirming that no athletes have been at risk of inadvertently using or gaining access to banned substances through this programme.”

In the review Tim Castle says the programme is consistent with the requirements of WADA (World Anti Doping Agency), and no products ordered through the programme were banned, or could have led to an inadvertent anti-doping violation.

The review identified some administrative weaknesses in the programme which have now been addressed, including tightening the on-line ordering system to prevent carded athletes from ordering products which are not on the approved list.

While a small number of athletes were in the past able to order products which were not on the approved list, the review says they were never at risk, as no products ordered through the programme were banned. The review also notes that staff are now prevented from ordering supplements.

The review does recommend more ongoing consultation with Drug Free Sport NZ and medical experts, but also commends the professional way in which the programme has been developed.

The review also found the relationship between NZAS and Integria to be sound, professional, and not captured or overshadowed by commercial imperatives. It said that all of Integria’s products meet the highest international standards and quality assurance.

On the broader debate about whether supplements should be taken by athletes at all, the review says in the absence of the programme, athletes would continue to consume supplements and it’s far better for them to do so in a safe and informed way.

The NZAS is now part of High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ), and Miskimmin says HPSNZ will continue to manage and enhance the programme, ensuring athletes are provided with a safe and reliable source of supplements.

Note: The Independent Review of the Sports Nutrition Supplements Programme: New Zealand Academy of Sport is available at

SPARC is the government agency charged with promoting, encouraging and supporting sport and physical recreation in New Zealand. For more information, visit


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