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Weightlifting coach banned for attempted trafficking of steroids

1 Dec 2014

Drug Free Sport New Zealand welcomes the six-year ban from all sport handed down to a weightlifting coach who admitted offering steroids to an up-and-coming young athlete.

The New Zealand Sports Tribunal today released its decision in the case of weightlifting coach, Daniel Milne, for attempted trafficking and possessing a prohibited substance.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief executive, Graeme Steel, applauds the lengthy ban and says it serves as a warning to coaches who encourage or assist with doping.

“Coaches are there to support and inspire athletes, not to drag them into the mire of cheating through drug use.  It’s unacceptable for a coach to compromise an athlete’s integrity, health and sporting career in this way and I’m pleased the Tribunal has recognised this by delivering a tough sanction,” Mr Steel says.

The Tribunal’s decision notes that the young athlete “should have been receiving mentoring and support” from his coach and should never have been “encouraged to undermine the tenets of true sportsmanship.”

Drug Free Sport New Zealand began an investigation in 2013 after the then-teenage weightlifter approached Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand (OWNZ) to say he’d been offered steroids and testosterone tablets by Mr Milne.

The young athlete said that he was shocked when Mr Milne showed him a vial of liquid, a needle and tablets at a party.  Mr Milne told him he could show him how to use the “juice” which would improve his chances of breaking a New Zealand weightlifting record.  The athlete told Mr Milne he was not interested and went on to report the incident.  

Mr Milne initially denied the allegations, but ultimately admitted two anti-doping rule violations, namely possessing and attempted trafficking (selling, giving, delivering or distributing) a prohibited substance.

Mr Steel says the young athlete’s courage in coming forward to report Mr Milne is admirable.  

“It takes enormous strength of character to come forward to report someone in a position of authority, such as a coach.  This young athlete is to be commended for his bravery and in my view he’s a role model for clean sport. I hope other athletes will be inspired by his conviction to do the right thing and out someone involved in doping.”  

Mr Steel says Mr Milne’s actions were clearly calculated and violated the spirit of sport, but he deserved credit for admitting the charges, rather than denying them.

“It seems clear that Mr Milne’s change of heart resulted directly from his return to the strong family values he was brought up with, Mr Steel says.

The Tribunal decision notes that Mr Milne was “contrite and ashamed of letting down himself, his family and others around him”.  The Tribunal also recognised that Mr Milne gave “years of positive and constructive effort” to weightlifting, but “lost focus and sound judgement” which resulted in the offending.

Mr Milne’s ban means he will not be allowed to be involved in any kind of sport for the six years of his ban, either as a competitor, coach or trainer.

Read the full decision of the Sports Tribunal here.