Teams at the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand have described how they have benefitted from the anti-doping message delivered by Scottish Rugby player Sam Chalmers.
Twenty-year-old Chalmers tested positive for a banned substance in the run up to last year’s tournament in France and was subsequently banned for two years.
The Melrose player has expressed his regret at his mistake and has since gone on to tell his story to this year’s future stars of world Rugby and encourage them to be aware and educate themselves on anti-doping matters.
Chalmers, the son of former Scotland and British & Irish Lions fly half Craig, said: “I was under pressure to get bigger and one day I decided to take what my friend had taken. I didn’t think what it could do to my body.”
“It was a supplement that I ordered online and I only took it for a week, but that online order was the worst mistake of my life.”
Sam has since gone on to become a personal trainer and will be eligible to play Rugby again from June 2015. He has brought his story to teams at IRB anti-doping sessions during #JWC2014.
“You don’t realise how much you miss something until you lose it. I now know that hard work beats everything, and there’s no shortcuts in Rugby. All the players that have gone pro have worked hard. I cheated and took the easy option, but you can’t do it as it will come back to bite you.”
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The drive to ensure Rugby remains a drug-free sport continues, as June 10 marks Keep Rugby Clean Day at the Junior World Championship in Auckland when all players, management and tournament officials will wear branded T-shirts to show their support for the campaign.
The IRB Junior World Championship plays a key role in preparing aspiring stars of the Game for the rigours of Test Rugby and anti-doping education is an essential element in that process.
IRB Anti-Doping Manager for Testing and Education, Ilaria Baudo, said: "The feedback from the sessions with Sam at this year’s tournament has been really positive. Many of the players and team management have described how touching his story has been, and how it’s made them aware of the dangers and the consequences in taking prohibited substances.
“Sam is an incredibly brave young man and the IRB is grateful for the time he has given to share his story with players of his generation. It has taken a huge amount of courage to put his hand up and try to turn his negative experience into a positive one. The IRB wish him all the best in his quest to return to the playing field.”
“Players need to understand the consequences of doping, and how to maintain a healthy and clean approach to sports nutrition and Keep Rugby Clean Day here at JWC 2014 helps promote those values.”