The Sports Tribunal of New Zealand has announced a suspension of two years has been imposed on Horowhenua-Kapiti cricketer Adam King for possession and use of banned substances.

The suspension came after it was found that King, who played for the Paraparaumu club where he was also a development officer, had offended over a 10-month period in 2014 and 2015. Drug Free Sport NZ (DFSNZ) received information from Medsafe that two anabolic steroids in 2014 and two hormones were ordered in 2015 by the medium fast bowler and useful batsman in the Central Districts Furlong Cup/Hawke Cup competition. The case was then taken to the Sports Tribunal.

The online exchange of King before the purchase said the cricketer was looking to put on lean and athletic muscle to improve explosive performance in sport, and prevent injury.

The Horowhenua-Kapiti cricketer remarked he wanted to look bigger and more muscular. King added the excessive weight gain leading to a loss of agility and flexibility and tendonitis in his knees was detrimental to his cricket. The cricketer then decided to purchase the hormones to counter what he perceived were the symptoms of gynecomastia (male breast enlargement) from the steroid use.

DFSNZ chief executive Graeme Steel remarked the case of Adam King highlighted the “very high risk” athletes faced for ordering prohibited substances online. Steel remarked we work closely with Medsafe NZ and other enforcement agencies to share information regarding potential breaches of the sports anti-doping rules. Those considering doping should never think that drug testing is the only tool we have at our disposal.

The Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive also added that it is not high performance athletes who can get caught out for possession and use of prohibited substances. Steel added the sports anti-doping rules apply to athletes at all levels of sport and those who buy prohibited substances online are making a huge mistake, and as well as cheating, are putting their health and their sporting career at great risk. Steel also commented that King in this case has paid a high price for a poor decision which has affected his future in cricket. Steel also said anyone who thinks they can possess or take prohibited substances and get away with it, should think again and also commented that the case also highlighted that using banned substances to get “an edge” was outright cheating.

Graeme Steel also remarked that the use of steroids or any other prohibited substances, no matter what level of sport, simply does not fit with the New Zealand sense of what good clean sport is all about. The Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive also added it is a shame that athletes resort to taking shortcuts such as this to enhance their performance on the sports field and also said success cannot be satisfying when you know you had an illegal advantage that others did not.

The Sports Tribunal, in making its ruling, said King had acted “responsibly and cooperatively” when contacted by DFSNZ and was therefore entitled to some allowance for that. The two-year ban was backdated to commence on May 1, 2016.

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