A showjumper who admitted taking cocaine and amphetamine to celebrate his birthday, the night before a competition, has been banned for two years.
German rider Jan-Philipp Weichert tested positive for prohibited substances benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, and amphetamine, in a urine sample taken on 10 June 2018 at the German national championships.
Mr Weichert was provisionally suspended on 2 July 2018 by the German anti-doping organisation, but owing to a lack of jurisdiction this was lifted in October 2018. In November 2018, the FEI informed the rider that as the show had been an FEI event, he was bound by the organisation’s rules and regulations including the anti-doping rules for human athletes (ADRHAs) and he was provisionally suspended.
In May 2019 the rider asked the FEI Tribunal for a preliminary hearing, which took place on 1 July 2019, at which the Tribunal maintained his provisional suspension.
On 20 December 2019, Mr Weichert provided the Tribunal with a statement in which he admitted he deliberately took cocaine and amphetamine at his 28th birthday party on 9 June 2019.
“Because of my birthday and the good jumping results I wanted to celebrate with friends. Since most of my friends are riders and were present in Balve it was a good opportunity to have the party. My party was not official or public. It took place for invited guests only,” said the statement.
“Only because of the good and euphoric atmosphere I let myself be seduced to this irresponsible act and took the drugs. Sadly it was not the first time this happened during a party. I admit that sometimes I tend to take drugs during parties to reach a more euphoric and good mood.”
The rider said he does not take drugs frequently or regularly; it happens occasionally, and only at parties, adding: “There was never a risk for me to get addicted and I had no cravings for drugs. It was just a party thing.”
He said that he had no intention to enhance or influence his sporting performance. As he had taken the drugs before 1am, he believed the effects would be gone before the competition the next day.
“I can only underscore how foolish my actions were and that I will regret this decision and lack of responsibility for the rest of my life and sports career,” he said.
“This mistake destroyed my business and therefore the employment of my staff. My failures are really clear to me. My economic existence as well as my riding career are destroyed and I’m not sure if I will ever be able to re-establish my business or my life. Despite my mistakes I’d really like to participate in this sport again in the near future. Without riding there is no job or employment for me.”
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On 30 June 2020 Mr Weichert and the FEI entered into an agreement. As the rider had admitted the violation and established how the substances entered his system, and because they had not been taken in relation to the sport, it was agreed the violation had not been intentional. The standard four-year ineligibility period was reduced to two years, from 2 July 2018. The rider was fined 1,500 Swiss francs (£1,265), must pay his own legal costs and must undertake an anti-doping education course.
The Tribunal stated that the prohibited substances were used during the event period in question, but outside the schedule. Under ADHRA rules, as the substances are prohibited in competition only, the athlete had to establish that they were used in a context unrelated to sport performance, in order to prove the violation was not intentional.
“The use of cocaine and amphetamine undoubtedly goes against the spirit of sport as well as constituting an evident potential health risk for athletes. For this reason, the athlete should also seek professional help for his abuse of recreational drugs, to avoid a similar situation in the future,” said a Tribunal spokesman.
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