Greg Ball competes in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
Greg Ball competes in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Getty Images

Paralympic champion's drugs ban

IPSWICH'S world champion Paralympic cyclist Greg Ball has been stripped of his most recent world record and banned from the sport for two years after testing positive to an anabolic steroid.

Ball tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, in a test conducted during February's Australian Track Cycling Championships in Sydney.

The former Collingwood Park rider had just set his fifth career world record in the one kilometre time trial before submitting a voluntary sample to ensure his world record time was validated.

In a submission to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) following the positive tests, Ball claimed he never intentionally took a banned substance.

"Gregory would not have consented to the sample collection if he believed or suspected at the time that he was at risk of the violations," the submission read.

"It would have been illogical for him to do so."

Ball's submission stated he had suffered from depression in the 12 months prior to the positive test, and had taken prescribed anti-depressant medication in addition to his regular vitamins and supplements.

The submission also included an admission Ball had taken "up to four tablets, the name and exact constituents of which he did not know at the time (and still does not know), obtained from a close friend".

Ball believed the tablets were vitamins that would help aid his recovery from depression.

The three-time-Paralympian told The Queensland Times it was an honest mistake that had devastated him.

"I never set out to cheat, that's the bottom line, and there was no reason to cheat," Ball said.

"It was simply a mistake on my behalf - not getting something checked out at the time."

"The ban effectively ends the 37-year-old's career and destroys his dream of winning a gold medal at the London Paralympics.

Ipswich based former Olympic champion track cyclist Ryan Bailey said he was surprised and saddened to hear of the ban.

"It's a disappointing thing for the sport, but it's even a more disappointing thing for it to be an Australian," he said.

The ASADA findings stated that Ball's violations occurred with "no significant fault or negligence" on the rider's part.

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