How Drug Free Sport NZ ensnared Kiwi distance runner Zane Robertson

Zane Robertson celebrates after winning bronze in the men's 5000m final at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Zane Robertson celebrates after winning bronze in the men’s 5000m final at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The drug test that ensnared Kiwi long-distance runner Zane Robertson and led to his eight-year sporting ban was a targeted test orchestrated by Drug Free Sport NZ.

The sports tribunal announced Robertson’s suspension on Wednesday after he tested positive for the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO) at the Great Manchester Run last May.

The two-time Olympian’s ban was effectively doubled after he offered a bizarre defense of how the substance got into his system, providing falsified records and false statements to back his claims.

Things has learned that the test that led to Robertson’s fall was not a random competitive test typically conducted at major sporting events, but a targeted test ordered and paid for by the New Zealand Anti-Doping Authorities.

* Kiwi Olympic champion Zane Robertson’s extraordinary efforts to deceive anti-doping authorities
* Olympian Zane Robertson banned for eight years for doping violations
* Running ban for police officers because of the import of performance-enhancing drugs

Drug Free Sport NZ (DFSNZ) chief executive Nick Paterson confirmed his agency had hired their UK counterparts to carry out Robertson’s tests at the Manchester event. Robertson finished 11th in the 10K while his twin brother Jake won the race.

“It was one of our tests,” Paterson said.

“In this case the UK Anti-Doping Authority was the sample collection authority so we asked them to collect the sample for us, once the sample is collected it is our sample and we are responsible for everything after that.”

Read  What happened to Nick Foles? How Eagles' Super Bowl 52 folk hero has bounced around NFL since 2018
Zane Robertson has previously been very open about doping in sport.

Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Zane Robertson has previously been very open about doping in sport.

Paterson added that the sample was analyzed at a London laboratory, with the results reported directly back to DFSNZ.

EPO is a hormone used to increase red blood cell production to increase oxygen transport in the body and improve aerobic performance. Its use is prohibited at all times under the anti-doping rules of sport. But EPO can be notoriously difficult to detect, as test results often return “atypical findings,” which aren’t the same as a positive result.

When asked if there were any irregularities in Robertson’s previous test results, Paterson said he “can’t answer that.”

“We can only deal with the positive test in front of us. While I understand your question, anything that happened before that is irrelevant and not part of this case.”

The news of Robertson’s suspension has cast a long shadow over his athletics career, with many now questioning the validity of the Commonwealth Games bronze medalist’s national records.

Robertson holds seven New Zealand records for the distance from 3000m to the marathon. He also holds the Oceania record for the half marathon, having broken the one-hour barrier in the 2015 Kagawa Marugame event in Japan.

Paterson stressed that “at this time” DFSNZ had no evidence that Robertson was doping during the period the records were set. He added the only result to be removed from Robertson’s record is his 11th place finish at Manchester in May 2022.

However, Paterson confirmed that DFSNZ is able to retest previous samples provided by Robertson.

Read  Carvana, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Frontier, O’Reilly, SolarEdge, VICI Properties and More – 24/7 Wall St.

“We retest samples every year, so we keep a portion of the samples in the lab, and every year we’re going to retest some of those samples, and we can do that up to eight or 10 years later,” Paterson said.

“We think about who we test, when and why, so the re-testing we do isn’t random either.

When asked if Robertson’s previous samples were likely to be tested given his drug ban, Paterson replied:

“All athletes will be up for discussion depending on the risks we see in the environment.”

Things has tried to contact Robertson, who still lives in Kenya, but to no avail.

In an Instagram post last month, Robertson announced that he had retired from professional running and had “no plans for future events.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button