Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Three rugby union players have been sanctioned with bans as a result of ongoing investigations into customers of the Clenbuterol NZ internet site, taking the total to 29 athletes sanctioned, 23 of which are rugby players (21 Union, two League). The website was shut down in May 2017 and its owner jailed for two years, after admitting 129 breaches of New Zealand’s Medicines Act 1981, including possession, advertising and sale of anabolic steroids, clenbuterol, and related medicines for sports performance and image enhancement.
Conor Hiniri, the fiancé of Black Ferns Captain Sarah Goss, was sanctioned with a two year ban after it was proven that he bought 20ml of clenbuterol from the internet site in October 2014. He was provisionally suspended on 9 October 2018 and the New Zealand Rugby Union Judicial Committee (NZRJC) accepted (PDF of decision below) that under the Sports Anti-Doping Rules (SADR) 2014, his ban should be backdated until then.
Blake Ensor, the younger brother of former Otago fullback Tony Ensor, was charged with nine anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) in May 2018. These involved possession and use of dianabol and clenbuterol; trafficking or attempted trafficking of metandienone and clenbuterol; possession and use of metandienone; possession and use of clenbuterol; possession and use of metandienone and tamoxifen; and possession and use of metandienone and tamoxifen/volvadex.
Ensor admitted seven of the violations, but denied trafficking or using metandienone in February 2015, as alleged. He also argued that his possession of the substances was not intentional. The NZRJC agreed with him and dismissed these two charges (PDF of decision below). The NZRJC also found that Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) had failed to prove its allegation that the quantities of substances bought indicated trafficking, and so imposed a two year ban.
Bay of Plenty club player Hayward Kuka was charged on the basis of his purchase of two 10ml vials of Trenbolone Ethanate in December 2014. Kuka admitted the purchase and acknowledged the purchase of two further vials in April 2015.
Both parties agreed (PDF of decision below) that an appropriate sanction was three years. The appropriate sanction for the four violations brought forward by DFSNZ would have been four years, but it was accepted that Rule 10.6.2 of the SADR 2015 applied to the April 2015 purchase. This allows a sanction to be reduced by half if an athlete admits to an ADRV before it is discovered.
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