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Doping ban for golf athlete

4 Oct 2023

SARMs can be dangerous

Metal scales representing justice.

The Sports Tribunal of New Zealand has banned a golfer from all sport for six months for the presence and use of ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that is banned in sport at all times.

The athlete was tested in-competition in November 2022. The test returned a positive result, which was confirmed by B-sample analysis in March 2023.

Ostarine is a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator or SARM. These substances act like testosterone, building muscle mass and strength, but the side effects can be serious: SARMs increase the risk of heart attack and stroke and can result in life-threatening liver toxicity. No SARMs are approved for medical use in humans.

The Sports Tribunal accepted the athlete’s denial that she intentionally took the substance and reduced her sanction to six months, backdated to 31 January 2023. The athlete is now able to return to sport.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand Chief Executive Nick Paterson said that the case was a reminder that athletes are bound by the principle of strict liability:

“Despite the athlete’s high level of competition, she is technically a recreational athlete and does not need to prove specifically where the substance came from. The most important thing for athletes to remember here is that whether they took a substance intentionally or not, they are always responsible for its presence. Every athlete has the right to competition that’s free from the influence of doping.

“Furthermore, as well as being prohibited SARMs can be dangerous, and athletes should always avoid them.”

Read the Sports Tribunal decision.