Drug education for clubs to be focus

Otago rugby is set to extend its drug education in the coming season.

Alongside its academy education programme, it will put greater emphasis on informing those at club level of the risks involved with taking supplements.

The move comes after four players around the country, including former Alhambra-Union winger Ben Qauqau-Dodds, received bans for anti-doping violations this week.

Ben Qauqau-Dodds.
Ben Qauqau-Dodds.
Now a teacher in Christchurch, Qauqau-Dodds (26) received a two-year ban back-dated to July 31,  2017.

Part of a wider scandal, it was reported late last year that more than 100 athletes across various sports had been caught illegally purchasing drugs from the New Zealand clenbuterol website.

A common theme among the responses from the athletes announced so far was that they did not know they were doing something that could lead to them being banned.

They are comments Otago Rugby Football Union chief executive Richard Kinley has picked up on. He said the union would look to increase its promotion of safe supplement use.

"We haven’t actively promoted out to community rugby in the past around nutrition and supplement education," he said.

"But New Zealand Rugby have designed some online education modules which we will be promoting this upcoming season.

"Some of the high schools ran some drug-free sport education sessions in the past; we do it for academy upwards.

"But it looks like some general education will be going out to the clubs and community rugby."

He said the union ran a thorough drug-free education programme for all of its players in the representative system.

Qauqau-Dodds had played age-grade rugby for Otago, although Kinley did not know whether he had been given the education.

As far as the individual case went, Kinley did not know the specifics of the case.

However, he said it may act as a "wake-up call" for athletes of all levels in all sports to be aware of what supplements they were taking.

He had not heard of any other local rugby players caught up in the situation.

"Well, I hope not," he said when asked if there were concerns more Otago-based players could be involved.

"Anybody who’s buying something over the internet, regardless of what it is, you need to be taking some pretty careful advice and you need to make sure you’re buying it from reputable sources. Otherwise you run the risk of what happened here."

Queenstown ice hockey brothers Lachlan and Mitchell Frear were last month banned for two years for attempting to purchase clenbuterol.

Former Carisbrook-Dunedin cricketer Chris Ware has also been banned for two years for purchasing the supplement.

Joshua Francis Townshend, the owner of the clenbuterol.co.nz website, was jailed for two years after a Medsafe investigation.

Add a Comment