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Paralympic champion opens up about clean sport

3 May 2023

Mana of a clean athlete

Three-times Paralympic champion and Laureus nominee Cameron Leslie (Ngāpuhi) opens up about what it means to be a clean athlete in a new video from Drug Free Sport New Zealand.

Cameron’s story reveals an athlete driven by determination, resilience and passion for the sport. Doping, he tells viewers, is a hollow win:

“You’re cheating yourself, but you’re also just bringing discredit to the sport, particularly in the Paralympic space where there’s so much positivity,”. He continues, “I can look back with pride knowing I’ve done it the right way.”

He hopes the video will influence other athletes to stay clean, particularly the next generation. “There’s no magic bullet to get to the top and young athletes need to understand that.”

The release of the video coincides with Cameron’s attendance at the Laureus World Sports Awards, hosted in Paris. These global awards honour the world’s greatest athletes, the inspirational power of sport and its ability to change lives. Leslie’s nomination for Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability comes after an astonishing 2022 performance in which he won four medals at the Para Swimming World Championships before going on to co-captain the Wheel Blacks at the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships.

“It’s so important to see athletes speak up in their own words about the importance of playing clean. You can’t fail to be inspired by Cam’s integrity, resilience and passion for sport, and we hope his incredible 2022 season sees him celebrated this weekend in Paris,” said DFSNZ Chief Executive Nick Paterson. He continued, “Our ongoing collaboration with Paralympics New Zealand and our Para athletes is an important piece of anti-doping mahi for the whole athlete community and builds towards our vision of clean athletes and clean sport.”

Duane Kale, Paralympian #96 and Acting CE of Paralympics New Zealand celebrated the collaboration: “NZ Para athletes have an excellent record when it comes to winning the right way. They advocate for and demonstrate ‘clean sport’. We continue to value the close relationship with Drug Free Sport NZ to ensure this record is maintained and athletes continue to receive the right information and education.”

The video, Mana of a Clean Athlete, features in Drug Free Sport New Zealand’s online e-learning and in-person workshops, and will be used to educate athletes across New Zealand about what it means to be a clean athlete.

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