27 September 2023

Sports athletes dope-free in 10 years

Start the conversation

For the first time in more than a decade, not a single athlete tested positive for doping due to a supplement in Australia, according to Sport Integrity Australia.

Chief Executive of Sport Integrity Australia, David Sharpe acknowledged the achievement, attributing the result to more than five years of sustained effort between Sport Integrity Australia, the National Integrity of Sport Unit, and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

Mr Sharpe said the use of supplements had long been one of the leading causes of anti-doping rule violations in Australia, accounting for a third of positive doping tests between 2016 and 2019.

“These numbers peaked in 2016-17 when 17 athletes tested positive due to a supplement,” Mr Sharpe said.

“However, from working with these athletes, we know that the vast majority of those did not intend to dope.”

He said studies showed that some supplements were illegal, unsafe and dangerous, not all supplements had all the ingredients listed on the bottle, and many supplements were contaminated during the production process.

“In fact, one survey revealed that one in five supplements surveyed contained a banned substance,” Mr Sharpe said.

“The combined education, communication and regulatory response resulted in the number of positive tests attributed to supplements dropping dramatically, with only three in 2019-20, one in 2020-21, and none in 2021-22,” he said.

Mr Sharpe said the creation of the Sport Integrity mobile app was a “game changer” and provided athletes with a list of low-risk batch-tested supplements.

Despite the latest figures, he urged athletes not to become complacent.

“Just because it’s on the shelf does not mean it’s safe,” he said.

“Sport Integrity Australia has not and will not approve or endorse supplements because they pose too much of a risk to an athlete’s health, career and reputation,” he said.

“If you must take a supplement, please check it.”

Mr Sharpe said the Sport Integrity app was free to download from Google Play and the Apple App store

He said other partners involved in the multi-year effort were the National Measurement Institute, the Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Committee, the Australian Institute of Sport, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and national sporting organisations.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.