As we draw near to Ironman New Zealand (and other key events) it’s a good reminder of the important topic of Drugfree Sport. A clean sport is a fair sport, so we encourage drug testing in sport. As an athlete who has registered for an event (not just Ironman) you may be subject to drug testing, so it is important that you understand your responsibilities.
Ingesting supplements such as protein shakes, pre-workout formulas, sports drink, energy drinks, herbal remedies, vitamins or any number of things could make you susceptible to contamination of a prohibited substance. You need to know what you are taking and ensure it is not on the prohibited list. In the past few years, athletes across a variety of sports have tested positive to prohibited substances, believed to have been ingested through nutritional supplements. Each of those athletes faced a ban from all sport for up to four years.
Be aware that any supplement you are taking may be subject to contamination during the manufacturing process. Many non-prohibited sports supplements that can be purchased ‘over the counter’ are manufactured in factories that also produce prohibited supplements and therefore can be accidentally cross contaminated by other substances made in this same factory.
Also keep in mind that many supplements have inaccurate labelling. Ingredients can have more than 20 different names and not every version is listed on the label. Labels may also fail to list every ingredient or refer to “proprietary blends” where ingredients are not specified.
In addition to nutritional supplements, many prescription medications contain substances which are on the Prohibited List and are therefore banned in sport so you need to be vigilant about what you take. If it is necessary for your Medical Practitioner to prescribe you something then make sure they are aware that you could be Drug Tested. Check if the medication is prohibited in sport, and follow the Therapeutic Use Exemption process if need be. (More information on the Therapeutic Use Exemption process can be found on the Drugfree Sport website.)
As an athlete you are solely responsible for every substance that goes into your body. I stress to you to visit the Drugfree Sport website as there is great information on there about medications and supplements and how to check if anything you are taking is on the prohibited list.
Visit www.drugfreesport.org.nz and don’t run the risk of ruining a great race through lack of knowledge.