No doping problem in NZ: Waddell

Rob Waddell: 'I've heard nothing or seen anything like that which would even remotely suggest that there's any sort of systematic doping programme.'
Rob Waddell: 'I've heard nothing or seen anything like that which would even remotely suggest that there's any sort of systematic doping programme.'
The head of New Zealand's Olympic team has dismissed suggestions of a doping problem here after a year-long investigation in Australia uncovered evidence the practice was rife in professional sports across the Tasman.

An Australian Crime Commission report, released yesterday, found evidence of widespread doping within professional sports and links to organised crime groups.

But New Zealand Olympic team Chef de Mission Rob Waddell told Radio New Zealand this morning he was not aware of similar problems here.

"I can absolutely say I've heard nothing or seen anything like that which would even remotely suggest that there's any sort of systematic doping programme. I'm very confident about that.

"There's always the chance that there might be the odd person doing the odd thing, but as far as something of that magnitude and scale, I'm completely confident that there's nothing like that."

Waddell, a yachtsman and Olympic gold medal-winning rower, said testing regimes varied between professional sports and the Olympics.

He was not sure how often professional sportspeople were tested across each sport.

"However, in Olympic it's brutal - you get tested all the time everywhere, wherever you go. And every competition, if you win, you're up for something. So as far as Olympic sports goes, the drug testing is really strong and very regular, and it happens anywhere, anytime."

Waddell told Radio NZ there was a potential for mistakes where sports supplements were involved.

"What you're hearing about in Australia sounds like a systematic doping programme on a major scale and some of their professional sports. That's quite different I think to supplements that are out there, where an athlete can trip up by taking the wrong thing."

Waddell strongly advised athletes to be "almost paranoid about what goes down your throat".

"You've got to be so careful because there are supplements out there that you might be able to buy off the shelf but there's a chance that they could trip you up."

Waddell said in the United States, there were some sports where doping had been "swept under the carpet" for a long time, and that could be the case in Australia to a certain extent.

But he said he never had an inkling that was happening in Australia at the Olympic level.