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Young rugby player handed two-year ban

10 Nov 2016

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) acknowledges the two-year ban from all sport handed down to a young rugby player. The New Zealand Rugby Union Judicial Committee released its decision in the case of Adam Jowsey, a rugby player from Hawkes Bay, for two anti-doping rule violations; the use of, and possession of the prohibited substance Clenbuterol.

Clenbuterol is not an anabolic steroid but can have similar effects and is commonly used in the bodybuilding community.

The Judiciary’s decision notes that Mr Jowsey did not use Clenbuterol for performance enhancing reasons. Had that been his intention the penalty would have been four years. However, the onus was on Mr Jowsey to check if the substance was on the Prohibited List and his failure to make any meaningful check was a primary reason that further reduction of the penalty could not be justified.

DFSNZ chief executive Graeme Steel says the ban serves as a warning to other athletes who use or attempt to use prohibited drugs for any reason including weight loss.
“This case once again highlights the tools we have at our disposal to identify those who break the rules. We work closely with New Zealand Customs, Medsafe NZ and other enforcement agencies to detect the movement of prohibited substances or performance enhancing drugs, whether they are intended for that purpose or not.”

DFSNZ began an investigation after the then-teenage player purchased three 20ml bottles of Clenbuterol through the Internet. The Judiciary accepted Mr Jowsey’s evidence that he purchased and used the prohibited substance for weight loss and that he did not realise it was prohibited in sport. The weight loss was actually detrimental to any performance and occurred at a time when rugby considerations were a low priority for him.

Mr Steel says athletes who seek to buy prohibited substances online, either in New Zealand or overseas are taking a huge risk and are putting their health and their sporting career on the line. 
“Unfortunately, here is another case of a promising young athlete having to pay a high price for a poor decision which has affected his immediate future in rugby,” Mr Steel says.

Mr Jowsey was provisionally suspended from September 1, 2016, however due to ‘substantial delays in the hearing process or other aspects of Doping Control not attributable to Mr Jowsey’ the two-year ban has been backdated to start from 1 February, 2016.