Four year ban for NZ Masters athlete – NZ legend Bill Baillie dies

New Zealand Customs intercepted a package addressed to a 44-year-old Masters runner, Brendon Keenan. He admitted to ordering Erythropoietin (EPO) online from an overseas source and has now been banned from all sport for four years for possessing and attempting to use the drug, a substance prohibited in sport at all times. He claimed it was for medical purposes. He has now been stripped of the two silver and one bronze medal he won at the NZ Track & Field Championships last March and his 2nd place in the marathon in Rotorua in May. His times were 4.51.15 for the 1500m and 18.01.06 in the 5000m. There is no record of him having competed in any WMA Championships.

The New Zealand Herald has reported the sad news that Bill Baillie passed away in his sleep on 25 December after celebrating Christmas dinner with three generations of his family, at the age of 84.  He was one of the many famous athletes coached by the legendary Arthur Lydiard during NZ’s golden era. He finished 6th in the 5000m at the Tokyo Olympics and competed in four Commonwealth Games as well as breaking Emil Zatopek’s 20,000m and 1-hour records, all this whilst working in the building trade in Wellington. After retiring from international athletics, he later competed in Masters triathlons.

Bridget Cushen