25 Oct 2010

NZ athlete tests positive for banned substance

7:43 pm on 25 October 2010

A New Zealand athlete has returned a positive test for the stimulant commonly known as DMAA after reports nine Australian sportspeople also tested positive for the substance.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Graeme Steel has confirmed the case, but will not name the athlete.

DMAA, known as dimethylamylamine or geranium oil, was included on the World Anti-Doping Authority's global list of banned substances late last year and carries a maximum two-year penalty.

It appears in sports supplements but Mr Steel says not knowing what is in a supplement is no excuse for athletes.

The National Rugby League has admitted that four players from lower level competitions are under investigation over the use of the banned substance.

DMAA is the drug Nigerian runner Osayomi Oludamola tested positive for at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and was stripped of her 100m gold medal.

Mr Steel says from 2011, DMAA will become a specified substance - those that can be taken inadvertently or through appropriate medical treatment, rather than through deliberate cheating.

He says from next year if an athlete can prove they took DMAA inadvertently, they could receive a lesser penalty and the challenge for authorities now is whether to apply the rules earlier.