Shot put sensation Jacko Gill has heaped praise on New Zealand’s drug testing programme, saying it keeps the knockers at bay.
Gill’s father Walter, a former top New Zealand thrower, admits that steroid rumours are inevitable given his son’s stupendous achievements.
But Gill has already been through 15 random urine tests. The testers turn up unannounced at the Gill home and the rules include keeping the athlete in sight throughout the visit.
Gill has also given two blood samples recently as the drug testing agency builds a profile that will allow them to spot abnormalities.
In contrast, the Gills say Jacko’s sister Ayla – a top junior hammer thrower based in America – has never been tested.
Walter Gill said: “Jacko throwing the 7.26kg shot 1.64m further than anyone has ever done at his age is like being on another planet.
“It’s amazing all the records he’s breaking that were held by people we thought were unbeatable – Russians, Yanks and Germans.
“People look for reasons why he’s so freakishly ahead of everybody else and [drugs] will be the first thing on their minds.
“Those records were set in the 1970s and 80s, the steroid era, so people are wondering how someone can do this when they are clean. Being clean and breaking all those steroid records is adding a whole new dimension to all of this.
“I’m happy for the drug testers to come as often as they like. You can’t even possibly think about drugs when New Zealand does such an amazing job of testing. In comparison, my daughter doesn’t even know anyone who has been tested.”
Jacko Gill said: “The more they test, the better for me. New Zealand does it better than a lot of other countries and my sister hasn’t been drug tested once in America.
“New Zealand’s approach must take the doubt out of people’s minds. People can think what they like but I take it as a compliment – they can’t believe what I’m doing. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
The Gills have called in the testers for Jacko’s attempt on two junior world records at the Millennium Institute’s Sovereign Stadium on Monday night.
“You’ve got to be drug tested for a world record to stand,” said Walter. “That’s cool because it’s all a good image for him.”
Source: Herald Online