Anti-doping education pays dividends
Olympic Weightlifting’s requirement for anti-doping education pays dividends
A competitor at the 2019 Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand (OWNZ) National Championships recently demonstrated the value of anti-doping education by using Drug Free Sport NZ’s (DFSNZ) online tools, which revealed that a sponsor’s product listed an ingredient which is banned in competition. Having received DFSNZ education, one of the athletes knew to check the listed ingredients of a sports drink, which included citrus aurantium. Citrus aurantium contains the active ingredient octopamine, which is banned in-competition. OWNZ staff notified DFSNZ as soon as they became aware of the issue.
Chief Executive Nick Paterson says “The use of supplements continues to present a very real risk to New Zealand athletes. Over the past few years a number of athletes have tested positive for prohibited substances, believed to have been ingested through supplements.
“DFSNZ does not provide any quality assurance on any supplement, nor will it ever approve or endorse any supplement. However, we will soon be launching a new package of online tools and information to help athletes better understand the risks inherent in supplements.
“DFSNZ recognises OWNZ’s good track record, their firm stance in relation to Whereabouts compliance, and their requirement for all OWNZ members to have completed DFSNZ Level 1 e-Learning as part of their annual membership. The alertness of the athlete in this case helped to reduce the risk to other athletes of taking a supplement that contained a substance that is banned in competition.
“We recommend a food first approach to athlete nutrition, but recognise that supplement use is common among athletes, despite the risks. Athletes should make use of the online tools and resources available on our website to check the ingredients and inform themselves of the risks inherent in the use of supplements. We suggest that before any athlete takes a supplement, they should seek the advice of a doctor or sports dietician about whether they really need it, or whether changes to their diet or training programme could achieve the same result.”
Supplements can include protein shakes, pre workout drinks, energy drinks, herbal remedies and vitamins. Supplements can be accidentally cross contaminated by other substances made in the same factory. Many supplements may also have inaccurate labelling. Ingredients can have more than 20 different names and not every version is listed on the label. Labels may also fail to list every ingredient or refer to “proprietary blends” where ingredients are not specified. DFSNZ advises athletes that no supplement is 100% safe, however using batch tested products is the best way to reduce risk.
DFSNZ’s goal is to support clean Kiwi athletes and clean sport , and has a range of education programs available including education workshops, e-Learning, and education resources, all of which cover the risks of supplements.