Aussie PM 'sickened' by doping
Sydney - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she is "sickened" by a report which has found widespread use of performance-enhancing substances and links between users and organised crime.
The Australian Crime Commission on Thursday identified significant use of doping in professional sport, along with possible match-fixing and manipulation of betting markets.
Australian Associated Press reported Gillard, who is in New Zealand for talks with Prime Minister John Key, as saying it was a dark day for Australian sport.
"We cheer on the deeds, and the sense that anything we've seen has actually been fuelled by banned substances would be pretty sickening for sports fans. It's pretty sickening for me," Gillard said.
New Zealand sports minister Murray McCully earlier ordered three government agencies to examine the implications of the Australian investigation.
New Zealand teams compete in Australian leagues in several sports, including football, rugby league and basketball, and McCully asked the agencies to determine the need for a national doping probe.
McCully asked Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand and Drug Free Sport New Zealand to examine the report of the crime commission report. He said they should consult the New Zealand Olympic Committee and other sports organizations, saying it would be "unwise" to ignore the Australian findings.
Earlier on Friday, the head of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority said the use of peptides by athletes has risen dramatically because they are difficult to test for and that only two laboratories can determine usage of the drug.
ASADA chief Aurora Andruska said her organisation has been warning sports leagues in Australia that peptides were the "new generation" of performance-enhancing substances and that the drug often stays active in the body for only a short period of time, making detection more difficult.
Andruska said only two laboratories can test for peptides, ones in Cologne, Germany and one in Montreal. She added that Australian police and customs seizures of peptides - which increase the amount of human growth hormone in the body - had increased by 2-1/2 times in the past year.
"We've been talking to sports about peptides, so we're very conscious about that being a new generation of drug that people are looking to use to improve their performance," she said.
"Of course it depends upon the dose that's taken, but the life inside the body of the peptide is very short, it can be just a couple of hours. What we do is use the intelligence we get to do target testing, so that all our testing has actually got some purpose behind the test."
Paul Marsh, chairman of the Australian Athletes Alliance (AAA), said he regretted that the reputation of all athletes was damaged with the allegations.
"This always happens ... when there's a lack of detail," said Marsh. "Unfortunately every athlete has been put under question. For sports that haven't even been identified (in the report), the players' reputations are potentially being tarnished.
"My first reaction was that I was pretty disappointed the way we heard the news."
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