Skip to Content

Drug Free Sport NZ welcomes sanction decision on triathlete

28 Jan 2015

Drug Free Sport NZ welcomes a decision of the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand which brings to an end the case involving triathlete Kris Gemmell’s breach of anti-doping rules.  

The Tribunal has released a judgement reducing the athlete’s sanction from a 15 month suspension from all sport to a 12 month suspension, ending on February 12, 2015.  

Mr Gemmell had been banned from all sport for 15 months by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after it found he’d failed to comply with the athlete whereabouts programme used by anti-doping organisations worldwide.  

Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive, Graeme Steel, says the decision is a fair one.

“We knew that an application to reduce the sanction was likely based on changes to the whereabouts rules set out in the new 2015 World Anti-Doping Code and the revised sanction of the Sports Tribunal is not a surprise,” he says.

Mr Steel says that the case highlights the severe consequences for athletes who are careless about complying with the anti-doping rules.

He points out that Drug Free Sport NZ will do all it can to help athletes understand and follow the anti-doping rules, but it is ultimately their responsibility to comply.


About the Athlete Whereabouts Programme:

  • Drug Free Sport NZ, in keeping with international requirements, has a Registered Testing Pool (RTP) of elite athletes who must provide whereabouts information and be available for a drug test at any time. Drug Free Sport’s RTP currently consists of approximately 40 athletes.
  • Athletes who are in the RTP must log whereabouts information with Drug Free Sport NZ quarterly.
  • The information athletes must make available includes details of where they are living and training, a competition schedule, a training schedule and any travel plans.
  • RTP athletes must also specify a 60-minute time slot during which they will be available for testing at a specified location each day, if required.  The athlete must be available and accessible for testing at the location and time they have specified.
  • Athletes can update their whereabouts information via the Drug Free Sport NZ website, text, email and telephone at any time.
  • The whereabouts system is used by all anti-doping organisations around the world as required by the World Anti-Doping Code.
  • Athletes in the RTP who either fail to file accurate whereabouts or are not available for testing during their 60-minute time slot are deemed to have committed a “strike”. Three strikes within a 12 month period (reduced from 18 months on January 1 2015) constitutes an anti-doping rule violation.
  • If found guilty of a whereabouts violation, an athlete can be banned from sport for a period of up to two years.
  • Athletes wishing to retire whilst assigned to the RTP may do so (and will no longer have to provide whereabouts information). This must be done formally and means they cannot return to high level competition without a six month stand down period.

Changes to the Sports Anti-Doping Rules 2015:

  • In 2015 the rules relating to the RTP will change so that strikes can only be accumulated over a 12-month period, rather than an 18-month period.
  • Athletes who are serving sanctions for a violation for three whereabouts failures over 18-months may apply to DFSNZ for the remaining part of their sanction to be reduced from January 1, 2015.