GSK to provide safe supplements for tennis players

Related tags Supplements Olympic games Vitamin

Pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline is to produce nutritional
supplements for the ATP, the governing body for men's tennis, under
a new scheme designed to limit the risk of supplements causing
tennis players to test positive.

The ATP said on Tuesday that GlaxoSmithKline will supply its range of sports drinks and energy bars to players by the start of the Australian Open in January.

It is not yet clear whether any mineral and vitamin supplements will be offered under the new initiative.

The deal follows a long debate over the safety of supplements for athletes, after Greg Rusedski and a number of other players tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone between 2002 and last year.

All were subsequently cleared but it was thought that the drug had been consumed through supplements handed out by the ATP trainers.

While the authorities have found no conclusive proof that supplements were the cause of the positive tests, the new initiative will at least go some way towards ruling out this possibility in the future.

Supplements were also at the centre of the doping scandal surrounding Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou during the Olympics this year.

The high profile of sports people has prompted a Netherlands trade association to set up a new scheme called the Netherlands Security System Nutritional Supplements Elite Sports (NZVT), which subjects about 100 products to stringent laboratory analyses and random testing. They are then deemed safe for use by athletes, and supported by the Netherlands Olympic Committee and the Netherlands Centre for Doping affairs.

GSK's products are all available to the general public but the packaging for the players will be slightly different and the contamination-free element guaranteed.

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