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Australian athletes as young as 12 use performance-enhancing drugs: survey

2014-07-08 16:03:00 Xinhuanet

SYDNEY, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Australian junior elite athletes as young as 12 are using performance-enhancing drugs, a new survey revealed on Tuesday.

Researchers from the University of Canberra and Queensland's Griffith University have spent three years interviewing more than 900 athletes aged from 12 to 17, who were competing at an elite junior level.

They told the Australian Broadcast Commission (ABC) that about 4 percent of junior elite athletes are using performance or image- enhancing drugs.

Another 10 percent believed they were competing against athletes using drugs, while a third of the young athletes used nutritional supplements.

Co-author of the report, Dr Stephen Moston from the University of Canberra, said there was a lack of testing in this age group.

"The reality is young athletes aren't tested very often, and so they operate in a kind of vacuum where there is no real testing going on," he said.

He added the research has uncovered a disturbing mindset to succeed at any cost.

"This obsession at a very early age of being spotted and noticed in a particular sport, so you make the cut for elite teams, it's all about the winning," he said.

"Young sport becomes more about mirroring the win at all costs obsession we see in the adult world."

Moston has called for better education for young athletes to combat doping.

"Teaching athletes to be more moral, to think about the ethics of what he's actually doing," he said.

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