Namibia

Young talent wasted on drugs

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 00:00
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Talented young Namibian lock forward Andre de Klerk has made history for all the wrong reasons.

The 21-year-old, who represented his country at senior international level just a year after completing school, has become the first player ever to be banned twice by the IRB for using anabolic steroids.

The International Rugby Board announced that De Klerk has received an eight-year ban, after committing a second anti-doping rule violation while serving a sanction for his first anti-doping offence.

De Klerk tested positive for the anabolic agent Testosterone in August 2011, following an Out of Competition test conducted three months before his original sanction of two years was due to expire.

According to the IRB De Klerk said his finding for Testosterone was a result of him using the supplement "Animal Stak". 

De Klerk's first doping offence was committed in 2009 after testing positive for the anabolic agent Methandienone while on senior international duty for Namibia.

The offence automatically put him in the IRB’s Out of Competition Testing Pool and subject to random Out of Competition testing anywhere, anytime. 

IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said: "The main message to come from this error is that all players must be diligent in checking all nutritional supplements to ensure that they do not contain any banned substances. Under the strict liability principle a player is responsible for any prohibited substance found in their system.

"This was a wholly avoidable situation and one that has significantly hampered what promised to be a budding international career.

"This case highlights a strong message to all young players aspiring to be bigger, faster, stronger, that you must obtain good advice around using supplements and any attempt to take short cuts are just not worth it." 

Having represented Namibia at the 2008 Craven Week tournament and again a year later at the IRB Junior World Trophy tournament, De Klerk later that year was named to make his senior Test debut for Namibia in a World Cup qualifying match - all while still just 18.

His ambition was to become a professional rugby player and was offered a contract by the Sharks, subject to him meeting certain fitness and strength conditions. Included in these conditions was the requirement that he must bench press more than his own bodyweight.

De Klerk, in his desire to bulk up, resorted to chemical assistance and tested positive for the prohibited substance epimetendiol and 17-epimenthandienone (metabolites of Methandienone).

As a result he was banned till November 2011 - missing last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

De Klerk continued training in the hope to return to the playing field, once his ban was completed, but in August last year he provided a sample that again produced an abnormally high testosterone levels.

The young player admitted to taking 'Animal Stak' - which is marketed as a testosterone and growth hormone in one, a comprehensive supplement that promotes muscle tissue growth.

It is marketed as a supplement that can make a "huge difference" when it comes to making the gains you want and tapping into the anabolic advantage.

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