An elite surf lifesaving competitor is devastated after being hit with a two-year ban for returning a positive drug test linked to an over-the-counter sports supplement.
Surf Life Saving Australia confirmed it had barred surfboat rower Brendan Ellis, of Batemans Bay club following a breach of the movement’s anti-doping policy. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has added Ellis to its sanction list for the “presence and use” of oxilofrine (methylsynephrine).
This is a stimulant chemically related to ephedrine sometimes found in some dietary and sport supplements.
It is prohibited when used in competition. Ellis was part of this year’s champion crew in the professional Ocean Thunder Series and a 2012 world surfboat title winner.
Ellis said that he was no drug cheat and had simply been caught out by ingredients not mentioned in the packaging of a “pre-trainer” product, made overseas.
The 31-year-old said his situation was a warning to many others in a range of sports who like him, could be unaware of undisclosed contents.
“It’s crazy. I thought the boys in the crew were playing a prank on me when I was informed of the positive test,” he said.
“Now I’ve been given a two-year ban, the same as someone who tested positive to steroids. I mean this stuff can be bought by kids over the counter at most health stores. It doesn’t seem fair.”
SLSA surf sports manager Nathan Hight said the penalty would prevent Ellis from competing in surf lifesaving sports until April 10, 2016.
“The member returned a positive sample to a random test conducting by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority,” he said.
That was while he was competing in the Ocean Thunder Surf Boat Series at Dee Why Surf Club on January 11, 2014.
“Surf Life Saving Australia has a strict anti-doping policy at its sporting events which adheres to the ASADA and World Anti-Doping Code,” Mr Hight said.
Oxilofrine is a stimulant chemically related to ephedrine sometimes found in some dietary and sport supplements and is banned when used in competition.