Banned rugby star in tears as he warns of steroid dangers
A RUGBY starlet banned for using steroids broke down in tears as he spoke at a seminar to warn other promising athletes not to make the same mistake.
Sam Chalmers, son of former Scotland and British Lions stand-off Craig, told of his embarrassment and shame over his two-year ban from the sport for doping offences when he appeared at yesterday’s launch of the Borders Athlete Support Programme’s Clean Sport initiative.
The 19-year-old, who played for Melrose and Scotland’s under-20 side, was disqualified following an International Rugby Board hearing earlier this year, where he admitted using a pill called Pro-SD, which contained banned substances.
Chalmers had previously tested positive for methandienone and stanozolol, which are listed as anabolic androgenic steroids in the list of prohibited substances by the World Anti-Doping Authority while on duty with the Scotland Under-20s squad ahead of a Test with Ireland in May this year.
Speaking of the moment he told his father of his failed drugs test, the teenager said: “I was stupid and naive and am still mortified and embarrassed by what I did. I not only let myself down but my club and family as well.
“What I did was wrong and I hope that talking to the Athlete Support Programme athletes about it will help them realise how important it is they are strong when it comes to making the right decisions.”
Chalmers bought the pills through the internet. Costing £27 for one pack, the manufacturer makes no secret of the fact it is an anabolic steroid.
The teenager has spoken in the past of his regret over his actions, blaming them on a pressure to bulk up to play at the highest level. His future in the sport in uncertain, but speaking to other young athletes is another step on his road to rehabilitation.
Following the launch of the Clean Sport programme, Every Athlete Support Programme (ASP) member in the Borders will be asked to sign a pledge to train and compete in line with the spirit of sport and with the UK Anti-Doping’s clean sport policy.
Rick Kenney, chairman of the Borders ASP, said: “I believe we are the first organisation of our sort in the UK to formalise our commitment to clean sport in this way and there is a strong message here that we can spread, not just to our own athletes, but to the wider sporting community in the Borders.
“We are grateful to Sam for daring to stick his head above the parapet to speak to our athletes of his regrets and in contributing a valuable lesson to them.”
ASP manager Gregor Nicholson said: “In light of Sam’s experience, we are now doing more to provide information links to all our athletes and coaches.”
Karen Patterson, mother of Robbie, the Scottish Under-15 badminton champion from Eyemouth, Berwickshire, was one of many parents present at the launch. She said she believed Chalmers’ confession would inspire others to stay away from steroids.
She said: “Hearing Sam’s talk on his experiences highlighted to us as parents how easy it is for them to be influenced when the pressure to achieve becomes too much.
“What Sam did today may not have helped him, but it took a huge amount of courage to talk to a room of strangers. Him finding the courage to do this enabled all the athletes to see what one wrong decision can do to your career.”