Former Kaikorai player banned

Former Kaikorai player Blake Ensor has been banned for offences which happened more then three years ago.

Ensor was part of the MedSafe investigation into the operation of the website, NZ Clenbuterol, in 2014 and 2015. Hearings this year have taken place into sportsmen - mainly at the amateur level - who used the website to access drugs.

Ensor admitted seven violations involving possession and use of metandienone (Dianabol) and clenbuterol in 2014, and possession of metandienone and tamoxifen (Nolvadex) in 2015.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand had also alleged trafficking of metandienone and clenbuterol in 2014 and use of metandienone and tamoxifen in 2015.

The committee, however, accepted Ensor's evidence the substances had been for personal use only and that the substances bought in 2015 had not been used.

The trafficking allegations, and allegations of use in 2015 were dismissed by the panel.

Ensor, the younger brother of former Otago fullback Tony Ensor, told the hearing he had stockpiled the items and it was all for personal use.

DFSNZ had said through the exchanges of emails and inferences, and the amount of prohibited substances bought it would be consistent with use by multiple people.

Ensor strongly denied trafficking, and told the committee after an ankle injury in early 2014 he did some research to try to stop the decline in his physical fitness, help his body image and improve his depression.

That led to the purchases, a rather intermittent use and stockpiling.

He bought the tamoxifen to counter the depressive effects of the other substances.

The hearing panel said Ensor put forward a plausible explanation and gave a favourable impression.

The panel, led by Nigel Hampton QC, noted as a club player, Ensor had not received anti-doping education and, because of injury, did not play in 2014 or the early stages of 2015, and therefore his participation would not have been affected by the use of the substances.

Although the anti-doping rules provide for a four-year suspension for violations occurring in 2015, the committee accepted Ensor's actions were not intentional, and imposed a two-year suspension, backdated by eight months on account of delay, to start from December 9, 2017.

The panel also highlighted the length of time the cases were taking to be heard.

''In particular, the timing of bringing these cases and the delays in bringing such cases, was a lottery ... a player from the same city, apparently known to the respondent was charged and dealt with by this committee in December 2017, whereas the respondent, with the (un) luck of the draw was dealt with a year later.''

Ensor, a halfback, has played fewer than a dozen premier games for Kaikorai.

Also banned were Horowhenua-Kapiti club player Conor Hirini - the fiance of Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Goss - who received a two-year suspension, and Bay of Plenty-based player and coach Heywood Kuka who was suspended for three years.

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