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Greater inclusion for Para athletes and clean sport

2 Feb 2022

Boosting anti-doping support and inclusion for Para athletes

Para athlete wheelchair on tennis court.

A new collaboration between Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) and Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) aims to boost anti-doping support and inclusion for New Zealand’s Para athletes by 2024.

Internationally, Para athletes and Para sport have experienced imbalanced anti-doping support compared to able-bodied athletes and sport, while being expected to hold themselves to the same high standards. DFSNZ’s new approach will see the organisation take steps to address this across every aspect of their work.

DFSNZ Chief Executive Nick Paterson believes that although this work is long overdue, it has the potential to inspire similar change at other anti-doping organisations:

“Clean Para athletes have the same right to clean sport as any other clean athlete. Historically we don’t think the international anti-doping community, including DFSNZ, has done enough to support this. We are in a position to make much needed change in New Zealand, and we hope that other anti-doping organisations are inspired to reflect on their own approaches in a similar way.”

Fiona Allan, Chief Executive of Paralympics New Zealand, echoed Mr Paterson’s hopes for future change:

“Drug Free Sport NZ’s commitment to enhancing its support to Para athletes and Para sport in New Zealand is really encouraging. International statistics have demonstrated that there is a big difference in testing across Olympic and Paralympic athletes. We commend Drug Free Sport NZ on their Action Plan for Para sport in New Zealand, and we are hopeful that other NADOs are also working towards increased inclusion of Para athletes and Para sport.”

She continued: “Our collaboration with Drug Free Sport NZ to develop this new approach is an important piece of work contributing to our vision of transforming lives through Para sport.”