Passing the water test with flying colours

By Cameron Leslie

"I'M AN athlete and that's what athletes have to do." That's always been how I've motivated myself to pee in front of another man.

At the end of the day, it's all part of drug testing, right? I must say though, it is a bit strange being a grown man and having another man watch you relieve yourself into a see-through pot.

Recently, I had the joy of a random knock at the door at 9.30pm and "hello, hello" it's drug testers who have made the journey up from Auckland to make sure I'm not up to any of Lance Armstrong's tricks.

Although 9.30pm, it is not a strange time for the testers to turn up unannounced.

You see, what happens is once an athlete in New Zealand reaches a certain level in their sport they fall into what is called a registered training pool of athletes.

As part of falling into this pool, as opposed to a swimming one, you must provide Drug Free Sport New Zealand with a breakdown of your whereabouts every day for the next three months.

From that breakdown, you must provide details for one hour of every day where they can get hold of you - regardless of where it is. For me, that one hour is between nine and 10pm because I know chances are I'll be at home.

Chances are that when a tester turns up you've just been to the toilet. Not that it is a bad thing, but it is amazing how many times that happens - but it's not like you're going to hold off taking a wee in the possibility that you are to be drug tested. Usually it just means the time taken before needing to go to the little boys' room is a bit longer. However, you're not able to just throw back litres of water as your urine must be at a certain pH.

Sometimes, when you feel the bladder give you the nod, it can be quite daunting as you make your way to the bathroom. Let's be honest here, there is a slight degree of performance anxiety which can kick in.

Thankfully, I've had a good run with stepping up and producing the goods, but I can see how it could happen.

It all just combines - the seemingly long walk to the bathroom, the deathly silence, and then to top it all off you can see a glimpse of this man with his head tilted slightly to the side watching you pass the goods.

Some may say it's unnecessarily invasive, but in reality it is needed. There are drug cheats out there and they go as far as wearing a fake cover - yep, that's right, a penile prothesis - over their bits and bobs holding a clean sample.

This week, I received the results from my test. I passed as you'd expect, but it got me thinking just how peculiar a process it is.

And, at the end of the day, I'm not keen to be racing drug cheats and if this is what we have to do to stamp them out then so be it.

- Northern Advocate

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