21 Feb 2013

School sport drug use 'would be inadvertent'

11:03 am on 21 February 2013

Secondary school sports co-ordinators say any teenage athletes in New Zealand who have used performance enhancing drugs are likely to have done so inadvertently.

Drug Free Sport has told a parliamentary select committee that it might be time to start testing top high school athletes because of problems in countries like Australia where students have been found to be using banned substances.

Secondary Sports Council executive director Garry Carnachan says there is a greater opportunity than ever for talented teenagers to make a professional career out of sport.

He says he is surprised at calls for testing for students to be introduced, but says through a lack of knowledge they could end up inadvertently using banned substances in sports supplements and off-the-shelf medicines.

He said unlike professional sportspeople, who have a doctor's advice, students might not know which supplements contain substances banned in sport.

Olympic rower John Storey coaches students at Christchurch's Rangi Ruru Girls' School and believes students are too young to be tested.

He says he began to be tested when he rowed at a provincial level, which seems to be about the right age.

John Storey said he's never heard of drug use at any level within New Zealand rowing and his students would be shocked at having to be tested.