Doping-New Zealand Olympic runner slapped with eight-year ban

FILE PHOTO: Commonwealth Games - Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games - Glasgow, Scotland - 27/7/14 Men's 5000m - New Zealand's Zane Robertson celebrates winning bronze after the race Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston

(Reuters) - New Zealand middle- and long-distance runner Zane Robertson, who competed at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, has been banned for eight years for doping and interfering with the testing process, the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand said on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old, a bronze medallist in the 5,000 metres at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, received one four-year ban for testing positive for the banned substance erythropoietin (EPO) and another for tampering with evidence.Robertson tested positive for EPO, which stimulates red blood cell production and enhances performance in endurance events, at the Manchester Great Race in May 2022.

"Mr Robertson elected to have his 'B' sample tested and this confirmed the original result. He subsequently accepted the presence of the prohibited substance but asked to be heard in relation to sanction," STNZ said in a media release.

"Mr Robertson filed evidence which was contested by Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ), and which led to the allegation of tampering," the release said.

Robertson is banned from competitive sport until September 2030, having been credited for time served under a provisional suspension put in place after his positive test last year.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Gerry Doyle)

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