New Zealand long-distance runner Zane Robertson has been banned from competing for eight years after testing positive for a prohibited substance and tampering with the doping control process, according to the Sports Tribunal. Robertson, who won bronze for New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and participated in the last two Olympics, was found to have taken Erythropoietin (EPO), a banned substance, and tampered with the doping control process.

Robertson claimed that he had received EPO during treatment for Covid-19 at a Kenyan medical facility, where he had gone for a vaccination. However, Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) conducted investigations into his claims and found that he had not been administered EPO at the facility and that the medical notes were falsified. DFSNZ also alleged that Robertson’s statements and supporting documents included falsified documents and false testimony, which is a breach of Rule 2.5 (tampering).


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Robertson was provisionally suspended without opposition for the first two anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) in September 2022, following an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) from an in-competition doping control test at the Manchester Great Race in May 2022. Robertson subsequently accepted the presence of the prohibited substance and did not contest the tampering breach, resulting in a proposed period of ineligibility of eight years. The tribunal agreed with the joint proposal, and Robertson will receive credit for the provisional suspension he has already served.

Nicki Nicol, CEO and Secretary General of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, expressed disappointment in Robertson’s actions and condemned all forms of doping. She acknowledged the commitment of DFSNZ, Athletics NZ, and HPSNZ to supporting New Zealand athletes who compete cleanly, and thanked them for extending well-being support to Robertson.

Robertson’s eight-year period of ineligibility is the only sanction available to the tribunal, as the first two ADRVs carry a four-year sanction, and the tampering violation carries a four-year period that must be served in addition to the original ADRVs. Robertson, who trained in Kenya with his twin brother Jake and competed in the marathon distance at the Tokyo Olympics, finished 36th in the race.


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