Drop in athlete charges by drug watchdog

Wednesday, 23 October 2019:

The number of Australian athletes asked to 'show cause' for a potential doping violation has dropped by almost 40 per cent.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority annual report revealed 19 people were issued notices in 2018-19 compared to 31 in 2017-18.

Despite the drop off there have been three high-profile doping cases in 2019, with AFL star Willie Rioli, NRL player James Segeyaro and Australian swimmer Shayna Jack all testing positive to a banned substance.

There were 22 athletes charged with doping in 2018-19 which accounts for show cause notices issued the year before. Four athletes took their case to the tribunal and all were found guilty.

The sanction for drugs varied, with a positive cocaine test resulting in a two-year ban, while testosterone boosters saw athletes suspended for up to four years.

Athletics, rugby league, rugby union and powerlifting were the worst offending sports with three athletes banned from each, while cycling and Australian rules football both had two breaches.

ASADA chief executive David Sharp said increased government funding in July 2018 helped raise awareness which led to fewer athletes doping.

Mr Sharp engaged with 16 current and former Olympians or Australian representatives in 2018-19 to better understand the "pressures, temptations and challenges" athletes face.