Top surfer suspended over steroids
By IAN MONAGHAN
RESULTS of a drug test from last year have come back to haunt Brazilian surfer Neco Padaratz.
Currently ranked No 27 on the World Championship Tour (WCT), he has been suspended from professional surfing until next year.
The 28-year-old from Florianopolis is an 11-year veteran of the world circuit.
Last year he won about $120,000 in prizemoney, while his career has generated more than $640,000 in winnings.
He has won two events on the WCT schedule and eight on the second-tier World Qualifying Series (WQS).
Association of Professionals (ASP) rules and discipline judge Robert Gerard said the test was administered at a WCT event in Hossegor, France, last year. Results showed Padaratz had taken performance-enhancing anabolic steroids.
He has been stripped of all ASP rating points from this year's WCT and WQS events.
Padaratz, who fully co-operated with the testing and the ensuing investigation, claimed that he had taken the prohibited steroids as part of a course of self-treatment for a lingering back injury.
Regardless of his plea, the steroids were deemed performance-enhancing, thus triggering the ASP's mandatory drug policy for the first time.