Drug Free Sport New Zealand unites clean sport leaders in new Athlete Commission

18 Nov 2021

Athletes at the heart of clean sport

Athlete Commission

Emma Twigg, Adam Blair and Ruby Tui are among the founding members of a new Athlete Commission established by Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) to keep athletes at the core of anti-doping in Aotearoa. The Commission, which met for the first time yesterday, will act as an independent advisor group, ensuring that athlete perspectives inform all the organisation’s work. 

“Athletes are at the heart of everything we do,” said Chief Executive Nick Paterson. “Listening to athletes and ensuring our work is guided by their knowledge and perspectives is vital to our success and to clean sport in Aotearoa New Zealand. I’m particularly delighted to have Ben Sandford chairing and guiding the new commission members through their first year and am excited to watch them lead a culture of clean sport in Aotearoa New Zealand.” 

Ben’s passion for clean sport and extensive leadership experience as WADA’s Athlete Commission Chair and an NZOC Athlete Commission member puts him in an ideal position to lead the group through its first year. As Establishment Chair, he’ll support the Founding Members as they bring diverse and independent voices to all aspects of DFSNZ’s decision-making and build a strong foundation for long-term success.

“It’s great to see DFSNZ putting athletes at the centre of what they do and following through by establishing this Commission. We have a fantastic group of athletes as commission members, from a diverse range of sports and with a wide spectrum of experiences. It’s an honour to be part of this group and to be the Establishment Chair. As a Commission we look forward to advocating for athletes and making sure the athlete voice is heard in every part of anti-doping.”

After a competitive selection process that saw expressions of interest from a number of talented and passionate athletes, the following Founding Members were welcomed onto the Commission:

  • Emma Twigg (rowing)
  • Shea McAleese (field hockey)
  • Adam Hall (Para alpine skiing)
  • Tracy Lambrechs (weightlifting)
  • Adam Blair (rugby league)
  • Portia Bing (400m hurdles)
  • Ruby Tui (rugby sevens)
  • Ben Sandford – Chair (skeleton)

The Commission will meet at least three times each year, providing DFSNZ with athlete feedback and perspectives, guiding its engagement efforts and diversifying its decision-making.

Find out more about our Athlete Commission