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No further sanction for Peden

New Zealand track cyclist Anthony Peden will not be further sanctioned by the Cycling New Zealand Federation (CNZ) following his admission to having used a prohibited substance in the period leading up to the 2004 Olympic Games. An independent Inquiry Tribunal established by CNZ effectively endorsed earlier findings of the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) that the agreed withdrawal of Anthony Peden from the NZ Olympic Team was of itself a sufficient penalty, and that therefore no further sanction is necessary.

Peden, who was originally a member of the NZ team for Athens, said that he was administered intra-muscular injections of triamcinolone acetonide, a banned glucocortiscosteroid, by a German doctor between 19 and 28 July 2004. The injections were to treat low back pain and sciatic nerve irritation. After the New Zealand team was subjected to out of competition drug tests on August 9, 2004, Peden applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) on August 11, 2004. This was rejected by the IOC and WADA on the grounds that alternative permitted means of treatment, such as epidural or root sleeve injection, were not administered and failed; there would not be a significant impairment to Peden's health if the prohibited substance was withheld; and that he would have significant residual levels of the glucocorticosteroid in his body for a prolonged period after the last injection.

Peden had signed an athletes' agreement with the New Zealand Olympic Committee on May 25, 2004, and at the time of his TUE disclosure in August he was still under the jurisdiction of the NZOC, which announced his withdrawal from the team on August 20, 2004. The NZOC was of the view that Mr Peden's exclusion from the Games was sufficient punishment and that additional punishment would not be warranted given that he had voluntarily disclosed information and had missed out on the Games as a result; he had followed appropriate procedures, albeit belatedly, for a TUE application; any further disciplinary action against him may have the effect of dissuading other athletes from coming forward to declare all that was necessary in order to pursue even a belated TUE application.

CNZ's Inquiry Tribunal considered this judgment and further evidence from the New Zealand team doctor and New Zealand Sports Drug Agency that it would not be desirable to charge an athlete with an anti-doping violation on the basis of a TUE, whenever made. CNZ also ruled that as the NZOC had already penalised Peden, an additional sanction would go against the principle that a person should not be penalised twice for the same error, which is applicable to cases such as these where more than one international sporting body could claim jurisdiction in the matter.

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