Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic horses fail drugs tests

....Lynch is the second Irish rider to be suspended in two Olympic Games

Four horses that contested the Olympic show jumping event have tested positive for the banned substance capsaicin.

Ireland's Denis Lynch, riding the horse Lantinus in the individual events, has been suspended from the Games.

Norway's Tony Andre Hansen on Camiro, Brazil's Bernardo Alves on Chupa Chup and Germany's Christian Ahlmann on Coster have also been suspended.

Lynch, Hansen and Alves were all scheduled to compete in Thursday's individual competition.

Ahlmann was not entered into the event.

Lynch has been competing as an individual because Ireland did not qualify for the team competition.

If the horses' B sample tests confirm their A samples, their countries will be disqualified from the team show jumping, which took place on Monday.

The announcement throws into doubt the medal order of that competition.

Norway won a bronze medal, its first ever placing in an Olympics equestrian event, while the United States took gold and Canada silver.
In its statement, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said the four horses had been "provisionally suspended by the FEI further to doping/medication control tests that indicated the present of capsaicin in each horse".

"Capsaicin is classified as a 'doping' prohibited substance given its hypersensitising properties, and as a 'medication class A' prohibited substance for its pain relieving properties."

The development casts another shadow over the equestrian after positive drugs tests forced a medal re-allocation at the 2004 Athens Games.

Germany were stripped of the team jumping gold in Athens after the horse ridden by Ludger Beerbaum, who is a lynchpin of his country's team in Beijing, was disqualified for a positive test.

Also in Athens, the Irishman Cian O'Connor was stripped of his individual gold medal on Waterford Crystal.

BBC equestrian commentator Michael Tucker told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's very bad news all round, particularly as two of them were highly thought of as individual medals and all four riders are world-class jockeys.

"Capsaicin is basically rubbed onto the front of the legs and it makes the horses pick up their legs.

"The testing facilities and laboratories here in Hong Kong are second to none in the world class. The B samples are going to be carried out very, very quickly indeed.

"Norway will drop out of the medals and Switzerland will come up."