Athletics: NZ sport officials react to Kiwi Zane Robertson's doping scandal, eight-year ban

It is being described as a deeply sad and disappointing day, and tonight, Zane Robertson is a tarnished name.

As reported earlier, the Kiwi runner, and 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist has been banned for eight years for testing positive for EPO and tampering.

It's a decision that hasn't surprised some overseas officials, while others here, aren't ruling out him being the last Kiwi.

In 2014, Robertson surged to a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in the 5000 metres. Fast forward nine years and that name is now tarnished

"You don't do it by accident," Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Nick Paterson said.

Robertson was slapped with an eight-year ban for two separate violations The first, for last May testing positive for EPO, which gives significant benefit to endurance athletes.

The second reason was for tampering with a document claiming he'd been given EPO when attending a medical facility in Kenya where he lives and trains, for COVID-19.

"We've put a number of violations to Zane," Paterson said. "He stopped contesting them in the end, so he's accepted them."

That left Drug Free Sport New Zealand to advise the likes of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

"Shock," NZ Olympic Committee CEO Nicki Nichol said of their reaction. "You don't expect that of those representing the New Zealand team."

Which can also be said for an organisation like Athletics New Zealand, with such an established and esteemed history.

"Disappointment, sadness, and just wondering what would lead him to take that step to make that decision to take the banned substance," Athletics NZ boss Peter Pfitzinger said.

A responsibility Drug Free Sport NZ knows may never be over.

"We're never positive people won't test positive, that's why we exist," Paterson said.

Regardless of if he's alone, what is positive, is that Robertson won't be wearing the fern again any time soon.