24 Mar 2011

Triathlete wins doping decision but loses title

9:18 pm on 24 March 2011

A New Zealand triathlete who returned a positive test for morphine has had his explanation accepted but will still be stripped of his title.

Graham O'Grady won the Port of Tauranga half ironman title on 8 January and says his only offence was eating gluten-free corn and poppy seed bread from a supermarket.

O'Grady successfully linked the morphine to the poppy seeds and was cleared by the Sports Tribunal.

The athlete says it never crossed his mind that eating the bread constituted a risk of any sort and is delighted but also dismayed at the decision.

Triathlon New Zealand says the rules governing such a breach make that mandatory, regardless of the 'no fault' finding.

Though O'Grady can continue to compete, he says having the highlight of his career taken from him has been gut-wrenching and humiliating - and he won't be eating poppy seeds again.