Ryder devastated by doping ban
New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder has spoken of his distress after his well-publicised battle with his weight led him to fail a drug test.
The controversial batsman tested positive for two banned stimulants, 1-Phenylbutan-2-amine (PBA) and N, alphadiethyl-benzeneethanamine (DEBEA), when he was tested at a Wellington Firebirds Ford Trophy game against Northern Knights on March 24, 2013.
The 29-year-old was handed a provisional suspension on April 19, with the hearing in his case not taking place until August 9 in an already turbulent year for Ryder.
The offence carries a ban of up to two years but the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand accepted there had been no intention to cheat on the part of Ryder, who ingested the banned stimulants when taking the dietary supplement Gaspari Detonate.
Ryder revealed he had researched the supplement using the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited List mobile phone app and determined it contained no banned substances.
"I'm pretty gutted by all this," he told reporters at a media conference. "After doing the research and finding out there's no banned substances in it, it's disappointing having to go through all this and knowing that I failed a drug test."
Explaining why he took the supplement, he said: "It was just to control my weight. It did fluctuate quite a bit throughout the season and I wasn't training as much, maybe not looking after myself as well, so I thought it'd be a good time to get on top of it.
"It's been a public issue for quite a while, my weight, it's something I'm always trying to sort out. I didn't really notice much of a difference at all, I only used them a handful of times.
"Knowing that there's no banned substances in it - using the WADA app, which has all the banned substances on it, and it coming back with nothing - I just didn't realise, didn't even really think about it.
"It's difficult to have done that research and to find out that it had been a contaminated batch. There's not much else I could have done."
Ryder stressed his opposition to drug use in an earlier statement issued by the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association.
In it, he said: "I have attended anti-doping education seminars during my time in cricket and am a strong supporter of Drug Free Sport New Zealand.
"Whilst everyone is aware of my well documented battles with alcohol, it's important for me to state that I abhor drug use of any kind, both recreational and performance-enhancing in sport."
In announcing the ban, the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand accepted Ryder's explanation that he had researched the dietary supplement before using it.
However, while acknowledging there are no banned substances among its listed ingredients, the tribunal said that a warning on the packaging that it may contain traces of other substances should have been enough to prompt Ryder to approach Drug Free Sport New Zealand before proceeding.
"The mandatory penalty for this violation is two years' suspension," the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand statement said.
"However the suspension can be less if the athlete establishes how the prohibited substances got in his system and that the taking of the prohibited substance was not intended to enhance his sport performance.
"Mr Ryder admitted the violation and stated he had been using a dietary supplement in order to lose weight and had taken two capsules five days before being tested. The supplement didn't list any prohibited substances on its label...The failure to contact Drug Free Sport, having seen the warning on the label, is the most substantial factor of fault on the part of Mr Ryder."
Ryder will be eligible to resume his career on October 19 but has not competed professionally since an assault which put him in intensive care in March, while he has not represented the Black Caps in any form of the game for over 18 months.