Sport

A big wake-up call

FORMER Richmond great Kevin Bartlett says it could cost his team a place in the AFL finals.

And now Olympic shooter Russell Mark says it might even cost Australia medals in London.

The issue of sportspeople taking sleeping tablets was brought to light when former Olympic gold medallist Grant Hackett revealed that during his career he had become dependent on Stillnox, a brand of the medication zolpidem.

That resulted in Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates coming out on Tuesday and announcing a ban on sedatives for Olympic athletes.

Coates said athletes should use relaxation techniques and at a last resort temazepam, which has fewer side-effects, if they were struggling to sleep.

He also said the ban would be strictly policed with serious breaches resulting in expulsion from the team.

But Mark, who will take part in his sixth Olympics in London, told ABC radio yesterday that it would be unfair for athletes to have their preparations affected because of Hackett's dependence.

"This will affect the amount of medals the team wins," Mark, who is in London preparing for the Games, said.

"If John Coates tells me I can only use sleeping pills for three nights in London, it will have an effect on my performance.

"If I don't get a good night's sleep it's not worth me going. I need something to get me eight hours sleep."

While the issue began in the Olympic arena, it spilled over into the AFL on Wednesday when Richmond announced it had parted ways with Daniel Connors and suspended Dustin Martin for two games when they missed training on Tuesday morning after taking sleeping tablets on Monday night.

Connors, who had a history of unacceptable behaviour at the club, was on prescribed sleeping medication, while Martin, who also admitted to drinking alcohol on Monday night, told club officials he got his medication from a friend.

Richmond's general manager of football operations, Craig Cameron, said the club's medical staff would "continue to educate our entire playing group and emphasise that prescribed medication needs to be taken as directed, and the significant dangers associated with not doing so".

The AFL, which closely monitors the use of prescription drugs by players, said it was satisfied with its policy on the use of sleeping tablets, adding there was no evidence to suggest their misuse was of major concern.

Topics:  grant hackett, london olympics




LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Football brawls a blight on game

With claret streaming down his face, Ghosts' captain coach Ben McLennan stands toe-to-toe with a Comets forward during the Grafton Ghosts and Coffs Harbour Comets Group 2 qualifying final at Frank McGuren Field.

Grubby play too regular in Group 2 rugby league

Phone scammers doing the rounds in Clarence Valley

Telstra offer five top tips to help businesses avoid falling prey to phone scams.

"I might be 80 but wasn't born under a gooseberry bush"

Gulaptis: Greyhound racing ban a 'human tragedy'

Greyhound racing has been a large part of Australian culture for many years. This photo essay explores a night at the greyhounds. It tries to capture the sights, sounds and atmosphere of this well known past time. Photo Contributed

"It’s a human tragedy to see good people lose their jobs"

Latest deals and offers

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Buddy Guy lead the 2017 Bluesfest charge

Patti Smith is one of the headline acts confirmed for Bluesfest 2017.

Patti, Billy, Buddy and more to headline five-day festival

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Angie and Yvie ready to toast The Bachelor on Gogglebox

Angie and Yvie in a scene from the TV series Gogglebox.

ALL the regulars return in TV show about people watching TV.

Morgan Freeman asks: are we alone? Why do humans exist?

Morgan Freeman in Through the Wormhole. Photo: Discovery Science

Question all you thought you knew, on Foxtel.

You are going to Falls for this music line-up

CONFIRMED: Local artist Bernard Fanning is part of the line up for Falls Festival Byron Bay.

The line-up and ticket purchase details have been announced.

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep