Jumping individual medals from the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) look set to be reallocated after the gold and bronze winners’ results were disqualified by the FEI Tribunal last week, because of doping offences.
Le Vio, ridden for Venezuela by double Olympian Pablo Barrios, 54, and Dolly Pala Blanco, ridden for Guatemala by Alvaro Enrique Tejada Arriola, 35, both tested positive to prohibited substances when sampled on the final day in Bogota, Colombia, on July 29th.
In an unusual twist, Guatemala will keep its team bronze because Dolly Pala Blanco tested clean in a first sample taken after the first round of the team event on July 26th and thus the first day’s score is allowed to stand.
But Venezuela, fourth in the team contest, may lose its right to compete at the 2019 Pan Ams, and the opportunity to qualify there for the 2020 Olympic Games, having no drop score to reinstate; their fourth rider was eliminated in both rounds at CAC.
Under the Equine Anti Doping and Controlled Medication rules, disqualification of the whole team when one horse tests positive applies only at the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and FEI World Equestrian Games.
Under article 11.1.2, at all other events the affected horse is disqualified with his scores replaced with the next applicable team member. If none are available the team is eliminated.
The FEI legal department said: “The FEI does of course find that, from a perspective of protecting the clean sport, it does not look good to have a horse’s results remaining that later during the event tests positive for a banned substance, and in addition in this particular case, such disqualification not giving any effect or consequence on the team results.
“But at the same time it shows that the system works, the horse tested negative on this day, which is exceptional and that day’s results should therefore remain.”
Tribunal made an early decision about disqualifications because of “urgent” requests from other countries who wanted to know their Pan Am status before the FEI General Assembly this week. The sanctions to be applied to the riders will be decided at a later date.
Le Vio was sampled on July 26th, after the first team round, and July 29th, after the individual final, and tested positive both times, to two controlled and specified substances, caffeine and theophylline.
Tribunal rejected Barrios’s extensive submissions that the quantities detected were not sufficient to have affected the results.
Florida-based Barrios also felt FEI should consider that caffeine positives are often associated with feed contamination. He had to feed the alfalfa and concentrates supplied by the organiser when he first arrived because as his own supply was held up at customs until July 23rd. He also claimed the Colombian federation had advised its own riders, but no one else’s, to keep samples of everything they fed.
Dolly Pala Blanco tested clean on July 26th, but positive on July 29th to Diisopropylamine, a banned vasodilator. The rider said it was believed to have been present in a product called Top B15+3, given to the horse on July 29th.