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    05 June 2023

    New Zealand runner banned for eight years due to drug violations.

    Banned for Eight Years: New Zealand Record Holder Zane Robertson

    The world of distance running was rocked today by news that Zane Robertson, the current record holder in the marathon, half marathon and road 10km for New Zealand has been banned from competitive sports for eight years. The Sports Tribunal of New Zealand announced on Wednesday that after failing a drug test and tampering with the doping control process, he will be out of action until at least 2029.

    EPO Testing Positive

    In May last year while competing in Manchester, England, the Olympic distance runner tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone produced naturally in kidneys which controls red blood cell formation. Athletes who take EPO experience increased oxygen delivery to muscles leading to better endurance and recovery rates. This revelation stunned many as it had long been suspected that top athletes were taking performance-enhancing substances but no one knew exactly who they were or how often they did so.

    Tried to Subvert Doping Control Process

    The tribunal found him guilty not only of testing positive but also trying to subvert the doping control process when he allegedly went to a medical facility in Kenya claiming he wanted treatment for COVID-19 vaccination; however instead says he received EPO injections there by doctors. He provided sworn affidavits from Kenyan doctors and hospital notes plus other documents submitted as evidence showing his innocence but DFSNZ claimed these documents were falsified hence why they ruled against him.

    DFSNZ Responds

    The Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) Chief Executive Nick Paterson was quick to respond saying that “Doping denies clean athletes the chance to excel on a level playing field. Mr Robertson’s actions are not just deeply disappointing but undermine the high levels of sporting integrity we see and expect from athletes who represent our country”.

    Robertson’s Career Highlights

    Zane Robertson has had a long and distinguished career in athletics, twice representing his country at the Olympic Games – Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021 – as well as winning a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow back in 2014. However, this ban will mean he is ineligible for competitive sports until at least 2029.

    In Conclusion

    This news has sent shockwaves through the world of distance running with many questioning how far-reaching these doping scandals really go. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on future events but one thing is clear: it sends out a message that cheating of any kind will not be tolerated within sport.

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