AFTER an alarming revelation that junior sport stars across the state are turning to banned substances to gain a winning edge, local sporting identities and industry experts hosed down fears doping had crept into Gladstone dressing rooms.
Tightly regulated by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, it appeared to be a rare occurrence for local sportsmen and women to be subjected to testing.
Queensland Rugby League Gladstone operations manager Casey Bromilow said he had not heard of any instances of local league players busted for performance-enhancing drugs, but confirmed ASADA could in theory turn up to any local ground and test players.
"ASADA could turn up to Marley Brown on the weekend and pick a few blokes out and test them, but it's whether they would bother considering the cost of testing," he said.
"The only kids that get tested are the Queensland or Australian Schoolboys that I've heard of.
"It just costs too much; the cost of testing someone is just ridiculous."
The Griffith University study found out of 900 athletes aged between 12 and 17 throughout Queensland, almost 4% of them had used performance enhancing drugs.
The results prompted Sports Medicine Australia to call on local sporting bodies to increase drug awareness in juniors, offering individual and group training courses in regional centres, including Gladstone and Bundaberg.
Local boxing identity and vastly experienced coach Mick Daly said he hadn't heard of any boxer under 18 ever being tested during his time with the sport, but said ASADA testing was stringent with the older athletes.
"There's really nothing in place (for junior testing procedures), I've never seen a kid drug-tested in all my time in boxing," he said.
"My older blokes get tested at Queensland titles or Australian titles, once they get onto the database they can be tested anytime... we got drug-tested 14 times in 16 days before the 2006 Commonwealth Games."
Mr Daly did not believe performance-enhancing drugs or steroid use were prevalent in amateur boxing, a sport based on speed and endurance.
"It (steroid use) doesn't help you in boxing. Just because you've got big muscles doesn't mean you can punch harder," he said.
One Gladstone-based drug testing agency said while they had been approached by sporting groups to conduct in-house testing of athletes, it was a tough market to crack, with the anti- doping bodies holding a monopoly on testing regimes.
"Currently the performance-enhancing testing is mainly carried out by ASADA. It's really locked down tightly by ASADA and WADA," the agency's spokesman said.
STANCE ON SUBSTANCES
A SPOKESMAN from Australian Sports Nutrition Gladstone yesterday warned against young athletes experimenting with banned substances.
"I've never heard of anything like that (junior athletes doping in Gladstone), but definitely mate, that's something (banned substance use) you'd steer right away from, especially in young kids," he said.
The fitness guru said ASN had policies in place when it came to clients buying supplements.
"Protein-wise, no (we don't restrict the age of customers), but pre-workouts and that, definitely," the spokesman said.
"Anyone under 18 we don't give out pre-workouts (due to the caffeine levels present in pre-workout products)."
He said most of their young protein purchases were for youths looking to add some size to their developing frames for contact sport.