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Nathan Baggaley Comments on 15 Month Ban

Saturday, 07 January 2006 12:03 | Written by 
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Baggaley relieved despite ban

photo of Nathan Baggaley

Olympic silver medallist, Nathan Baggaley.

(ABC.net.au) Australian kayaking champion and Byron Bay resident, Nathan Baggaley, says he has maintained his credibility despite receiving a 15 month ban for steroid use.

Last night the Court of Arbitration for Sport took into account Baggaley's explanation that he had mistakenly taken the steroids when he drank orange juice from a shared fridge.

Baggaley, who is an Olympic silver medallist, tested positive to the drugs in September.

He says he is relieved the hearing is over, "it was a long night and it was very stressful, it was a bittersweet result. Obviously I have argued the whole time that I was innocent, that I have never taken anything knowingly."

"If I was guilty of that I would get the two years minimum and so by getting less than that, the judge admitted that he believed I didn't knowingly take anything, but I was partly negligent for drinking out of my fridge from an unsealed bottle."

"At the end of the day you are responsible for everything that goes into your body and I have got to accept that."

"I like to think I kept some credibility. I have always argued that I have never cheated and never would knowingly, for me that was really important, I really wanted to clear that up."

To miss a season is not going to kill me and it is definitely going to bring back the fire. I will definitely be back for Beijing and I am really looking forward to that. 

"Still, to get fifteen months when I have never done anything wrong, it is still an unfortunate situation, that is the downside but I will do my time. It is not going to be the end of the world. I really am overdue for a rest, to miss a season is not going to kill me and it is definitely going to bring back the fire. I will definitely be back for Beijing and I am really looking forward to that."

"It was very tough, but it was a situation I was dealt and I had to play it out. I think I dealt with it as best I could have, it was going to be a near impossible task to get totally cleared."

"Our whole argument was to prove that it didn't come from me, it was from someone else and there was a reason for it being there, they don't just give you the benefit of the doubt, you do have to prove it without any doubts and it was not an easy task. Luckily the person involved did step forward and took responsibility."

"That makes it easier, but that is now for the criminal system to be able to deal with. That person, it has implicated them, so I do respect them, that they were strong enough to be able to take that."

"It has been the toughest few months of my life. A place an athlete should never be is in a courtroom, it is no place where I would ever want to be again, it was terrible. To go through that whole situation was the worst thing that has ever happened to me," Mr Baggaley said.

[Editor: The drugs concerned were stanozolol and methandienone. Baggaley stated that his brother was treating injured ribs with a cocktail of the drugs mixed with juice and that he had left a bottle of the mixture in the fridge of the shared family home. Baggaley drank some of the mixture without realising what it was...

I asked a doctor about the drugs and whether they would be prescribed for any kind of injury.

His emphatic reply was that no doctor would EVER prescribe these drugs.  They are simply not used theraputically and their ONLY use is to build muscle bulk. "There are plenty of non-steroid drugs that enhance the healing process; steroids retard healing if anything." The drugs concerned have significant long term side affects.

Talk to any top athlete and you'll find that they are paranoid about drugs. To believe that Baggaley's brother would leave them lying around in a shared fridge is to stretch the credulity of anyone who knows anything about doping.

We await the official findings of the case (due out later this month) but it's difficult to see how Nathan Baggaley could possibly claim any "credibility" whatsoever.]

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