Australian hockey player banned until after London 2012

A weight-loss product has cost a potential Hockeyroo her London 2012 dreams and a big hit in the pocket.

Australian squad member Jane Bennett has been banned for two years for testing positive to the drug clenbuterol following a test on August 9, 2010 during a national training camp in Perth ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Bennett says an innocent mistake over a weight-loss drug is to blame, although she accepts full responsibility for her actions. On top of the ban, the Brisbane midfielder must repay a $7703 training grant to the Australian Sports Commission.

In a statement Bennett said she had used a weight-loss product prior to the test. “I take full responsibility and although I had no intention of cheating the systems in place,” said the 26-year-old. “I accept that I should have done more research into the product. “It was an innocent mistake but I fully accept the finding.”

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) chief executive Aurora Andruska said the violation was detected as part of ASADA’s “pure performance” program for the Commonwealth Games in which more than 1000 tests were conducted on 400 Australian athletes, according to AAP.

Clenbuterol is used in medication for breathing disorders and is sometimes used a weight loss drug, although it’s clinical effectiveness for this is disputed.

ASADA warned unsupervised use of the drug could worsen pre-existing heart conditions or hypertension, and there was a risk of overdose and stroke when used at high doses. “It is a potentially dangerous drug that, as well as being banned under the code, is not approved for human use in Australia,” Ms Andruska said.

The suspension means Bennett will be ineligible to participate as an athlete or support person in sport until August 26, 2012.