New South Wales to test children of 12

Drugs in Sport
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The Independent Online

Australia's New South Wales state government said yesterday in Sydney that it would seek to introduce random drug tests of elite sporting children as young as 12.

The legislation would permit the Australian Sports rug Agency to conduct random urine tests of children enrolled in elite sports programmes, Gabrielle Harrison, the state's sports minister, said.

"Whilst the legislation permits the testing of minors, I must stress that such testing will only be carried out with parental consent," Harrison told the state parliament.

"However, it is the government's policy that competitors whose parents withhold their consent for their child to be tested will result in state funding for that child being withdrawn."

While there was no apparent drug problem among junior sporting performers, Harrison added that it was timely to pre-empt any temptation, as the Sydney Olympics in 2000 placed increased pressure on young competitors.

Harrison said that the tests would commence as soon as the legislation passed through state parliament, adding that similar laws were already in place in Victoria, and other states were expected to follow suit.