The different levels of athletes

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 a national level athlete should apply for a TUE.

Athletes qualify as a "national level" if they meet any of the following criteria.  They 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
  •     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 they are  selected in specified national representative teams within the following sports (click on the relevant sport for details):

If athletes are competing in an event that qualifies them as a national level athlete, they 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 athletes are in a national team and need to take a prohibited medication, then they should apply for a TUE as soon as they are selected.  The TUE should remain in place for the duration of the competition (ie until the final play-offs etc).  If the athlete loses his or her place in the team due to injury or performance, they still qualify as a national level athlete for this period and must have a TUE in place as they 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 athletes are competing internationally they should check with their Federation and be clear about their responsibilities around TUEs because they may have to apply for a TUE from their International Federation rather than Drug Free Sport NZ.

Other athletes

Other athletes do not require a TUE in advance.  If athletes fall into this category they can apply for a retroactive exemption, which means they only need to apply if they’re tested and they return a positive test.  However, they will need to meet the relevant criteria.

If an athlete is not sure what level they are classified at, they can contact Drug Free Sport NZ on 0800 DRUGFREE (378 437) or email us to check.  

Find out more: