Former Southland Sharks basketballer Gareth Dawson has copped a 12-month suspension after the Sports Tribunal found his taking of a prohibited substance was not for performance-enhancing purposes.
Dawson said while he was disappointed that he couldn't play until May next year, he was relieved it was over and he could move on.
"It has been tough; it's been going on for two and a half months, it's hard to have something of this nature going on. I try to put it out of my mind and carry on but at the same time it's hard to get away from it," he said.
Dawson was originally facing a two-year suspension but said the tribunal was lenient after being satisfied he had not intentionally cheated.
"I just made a stupid mistake by not checking prescriptions," he said.
The tribunal said it was satisfied Dawson "did not intend to enhance his sports performance or to mask the use of a performance enhancing substance".
"Mr Dawson in 2011 noticed a medical abnormality which was sore and annoying while competing in sport," the decision says.
After receiving a diagnosis without treatment In Timaru, Dawson consulted an Invercargill doctor who prescribed Dawson the tamoxifen which was taken over 10 days in November and December 2013.
Dawson completed the prescribed tamoxifen in March 2014 after the medical condition returned.
A sample collected from Dawson by Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFS) on March 22 confirmed the presence of prohibited substance tamoxifen.
The tribunal heard an application from DFS for provisional suspension and made the order for Dawson's suspension on May 15.
In evidence to the tribunal, Dawson said his lapse was unintentional and the tamoxifen was sought to relieve an "embarrassing and painful medical condition".
The decision said Dawson "made little effort in exercising the proper caution to be expected of a semi-professional and experienced athlete to avoid taking prohibited substances".
Dawson is suspended from all participation in sport until May 15, 2015 - 12 months from the date of his provisional suspension.
- The Southland Times