21 Aug 2013

Anti-doping agency says Ryder warned of supplement danger

5:38 am on 21 August 2013

Cricketer Jesse Ryder was warned about the dangers of weight loss supplements just months before testing positive for banned substances.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive Graeme Steel said Ryder went through an education programme about such supplements only months beforehand.

He said Ryder should have heeded a warning on the supplement's label that athletes are to take it at their own risk.

The Sports Tribunal of New Zealand said the player, who is now contracted to the Otago Cricket Association, tested positive during a game for the Wellington Firebirds in March this year.

He returned a positive test after taking a dietary supplement, which did not list any prohibited substances on its label.

Ryder took two capsules five days before he was tested, but he says it was to lose weight and not to enhance his performance.

The mandatory penalty for this type of violation is two years, but the tribunal said it is satisfied Ryder used the supplement to lose weight without any intent to enhance his performance and his suspension has been reduced to six months.

More advice needed says players' group

The New Zealand Cricket Players' Association says there needs to be more clarity in advice given to players unsure about which dietary supplements they can take.

Chief executive Heath Mills said supplements are used by the vast majority of high performance athletes everywhere.

He said that when players seek help from an organisation like Drug Free Sport New Zealand, the advice about supplements is that they take them at their own risk.

Mr Mills said there needs to be a discussion about how athletes can be better assisted in their decision making with supplements.

The suspension began on 19 April and Ryder will be allowed to return to cricket after 19 October.