What level athlete am I?

Whether an athlete is a “national-level” or “international-level” athlete is important in determining when they need to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

Athletes who meet Drug Free Sport NZ's criteria for national-level athletes (or the international-level athlete criteria set by their sport's International Federation) need to apply for a TUE before they take a medication which is prohibited in sport (unless it's a medical emergency).

It's important for athletes to understand whether they are classified as a national or international level athlete.  Find out more about the different levels of athlete and when to apply for a TUE:

National level athletes

Drug Free Sport determines the criteria for a national level athlete (in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code). Below you'll find details of those criteria and more information on when you should apply for a TUE.

You qualify as a national level athlete if you meet any of the following criteria.  You are:

  • assigned to Drug Free Sport NZ’s Registered Testing Pool or National Testing Pool
  • selected in a New Zealand Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games team (excluding youth teams)
  • named on the long list for selection for the New Zealand Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games teams
  • competing in the elite or open grade categories at specified events or you are  selected in specified national representative teams within the following sports (click on your sport for details about the specific criteria for that sport):

If you are competing in an event that qualifies you as a national level athlete, you should have a TUE in place for one week prior to the event start date and it should last for the duration of the event. 

If you're in a national team and you need to take a prohibited medication, then you should apply for a TUE as soon as you are selected.  The TUE should remain in place for the duration of the competition (ie until the final play-offs etc).  If you lose your place in the team due to injury or performance, you still qualify as a national level athlete for this period and you must have a TUE in place as you could still be drug tested during this time. 

International level athletes

The criteria for an international level athlete is determined by a sport’s International Federation.  If you’re competing internationally you should check with your Federation and be clear about your responsibilities around TUEs because you may have to apply for a TUE from your International Federation rather than Drug Free Sport NZ.

Other athletes

Other athletes do not require a TUE in advance.  If you’re one of these athletes, you can apply for a retroactive exemption, which means you only need to apply if you’re tested and you return a positive test.  However, you will need to meet the relevant criteria.
If you’re not sure what level athlete you are contact Drug Free Sport NZ on 0800 DRUGFREE (378 437), email us or your National Sport Organisation (NSO) to check.  

Find out more: