“Our aim is to get doping out of sport,” says DFSNZ CEO
Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) CEO Nick Paterson said working in partnership with agencies around the world was “the key to ridding sport of drug cheats”.
Mr Paterson, who was visiting Sport Integrity Australia this week, said he’s been questioned by his own athletes for having rigid testing in New Zealand.
“I make no apologies for testing athletes repeatedly to show they are clean,” he said. “That's just who we are as Kiwis. Our integrity is high. But I commit to them that we will continue to try to get other countries to lift their game to make sure they do their job better.
“The integrity is really critical to who we are and what we live for, that’s why we exist as an agency.”
He spoke about the need to work together in the interests of athletes globally.
“If we can get Australians athletes clean, and I think they are, then Kiwi athletes will benefit and vice versa. If we get Pacific athletes clean, if we can get Asian athletes, American athletes clean, all of our athletes benefit as a result,” he said.
Mr Paterson, whose agency has grown from nine people six years ago to 25 today, said getting doping out of sport is done through prevention and deterrence and not through detection and prosecution.
“In the last year we've educated in greater numbers than ever before and we've tested in greater numbers than ever before,” he said.
“I presume your Australian athletes are clean, so your job and our job is therefore to protect our athletes and support our athletes and give them sufficient information not to make mistakes, not to access doping, to remain true to our culture and our values.”
He said DFSNZ would become an integrity agency in 12 months’ time, covering child safety, athlete welfare, match manipulation and corruption and anti-doping, not only in sport but active recreation.
“So, it's now our turn to really learn from what you guys have done and how you've done it. I want to have people coming over here to come to spend some time to learn from you guys first hand, to take the stuff that you've done really well, to see how much we can copy and replicate and put out there for New Zealand athletes.”