Sir Bob Charles pulls support

LAUREN HAYES AND EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 07/02/2013

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The co-director of Southland-based company Silberhorn has attacked the media after Sir Bob Charles yesterday withdrew his endorsement of deer velvet capsules.

Sir Bob released a statement saying that contrary to statements made by Ian Carline, co-director of Silberhorn, which makes deer velvet supplements, he had withdrawn his endorsement of the capsules until there was more clarity around amounts of naturally occurring IGF-1 in deer velvet.

"Sir Bob would like to reiterate his earlier statement that he had no idea the health supplement he has taken and promoted for years contained a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency," the statement said.

Mr Carline last night said he had discussed the issue with Sir Bob and was aware he was "taking a back seat".

Mr Carline blamed the media for engaging in "gutter press", saying they had "hounded a gentleman [Sir Bob Charles]".

When Mr Carline was asked if he had ever told Sir Bob that deer velvet contained the banned muscle growth hormone IGF-1, he deflected the question.

"It's standard knowledge it's in there, you have made a mountain out of a molehill, it's also in milk, cheese and meat ... does his dairy tell him there's IGF-1 in the milk he drinks?"

Mr Carline said earlier he believed the worldwide controversy over deer velvet supplements - after concerns they may raise prohibited IGF-1 levels in athletes - had tarnished Southland's reputation because Silberhorn was associated with the region.

"We've got people who seem to think Southland is Colombia and we're pumping out cocaine. Southland is a decent place and we are just trying to keep our heads above water."

His company had fielded a lot of inquiries about the product over the past few days, and also a lot of concerns from regular customers worried about supply.

To ensure supply did not run short, Silberhorn had been forced to prioritise regular customers and Mr Carline planned to run an advertising campaign to reassure them, he said.

The "panic buying" reported on Saturday had continued, he said.

Mr Carline said IGF-1 was a naturally occurring substance in humans and mammals and it had never been an issue in drug tests.

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) chief executive Graeme Steel released a statement on Tuesday advising athletes to be careful when considering supplements such as deer velvet products.

Athletes would be prosecuted by the body if they did test positive for banned substances after taking supplements, he said.

DFSNZ would continue to monitor the issue, but did not think it necessary to investigate possible historical uses of deer velvet at this time.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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