There are two articles and an editorial in todays Star-Times.
The International Olympic Committee has dropped a bombshell by confirming a banned drug is included in a product that has been provided to elite Kiwi athletes via the New Zealand Academy of Sport’s official sports supplements programme.
The IOC’s chief nutritional scientist, British-based professor Ronald Maughan, says the product Thermotone contains a type of amphetamine which the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) identifies as a banned substance.
The revelation has led to calls for under-fire Sports Minister Murray McCully to reject the findings of a taxpayer-funded report which cleared Crown agency Sparc, and launch a full-blown parliamentary inquiry.
McCully and Sparc’s chairman Paul Collins and chief executive Peter Miskimmin would not comment yesterday on the IOC revelation.
But it prompted Wada’s boss, New Zealander David Howman, to speak out against the way Sparc handled the investigation into the flawed national sports supplement programme.
The first point that I should make is that I know all of the main players well. First met Paul Collins while I was in short pants. I have long admired his support for sport generally, rugby in particular - and it was him providing, with a few others, a personal guarantee that got the Wellington stadium built. Peter is a sporting hero, a great CEO and well known for his integrity. Tim is a well known local barrister, has an international reputation in sports law and is thoroughly pleasant. David used to sit directly behind me in the old season ticket area at Athletic Park and is the world's leader in the anti doping campaign.
McCully. Well he is Muzza and under pressure over the last few months.
The essence of this investigation is that it is possible that an arm of SPARC was recommending a supplement that contained traces of an amphetamine to our high performance athletes. Certainly the experts are certain that one of the ingredients does. We don't know who was recommended the drug, whether anyone used it and if so whether there were any positive tests for it.
The issue is complicated because if it turns out that our athletes (wide range Olympic stars, rugby players etc) were using it then they could be subject to bans. No knowledge of the fact that the athlete knew is necessary.
Now I don't know if we have a problem or not.
But the fact that McCully has instructed those who would normally comment not to doesn't make it look flash.
If there are problems with Tim Castle's report then we should be transparent. I want to see any technical expert advice that contradicts WADA.
Most of all I don't want to be part of a sporting community which looks bad because the Minister wants to pretend that there never was an issue.