‘I can’t prove my innocence’: rider accepts European Championships doping sanction

  • Julia Krajewski has accepted an FEI “administrative sanction” for Samourin Du Thot’s positive European Eventing Championships dope test.

    The German team rider said evidence collected during investigations into how controlled medication firocoxib came to be present in Samourai Du Thot (“Sam”) is not enough to prove her innocence.

    Julia had 21 days from the day the horse’s B-sample tested positive for the drug (10 November) in which to decide her course of action.

    “According to FEI regulations, I had two options,” she said in a statement today (1 December).

    “I could accept an ‘administrative sanction’, which means paying a substantial fine and ending up with a ‘record’ in the FEI register. Or I could demand a hearing before the FEI Tribunal, which would either acquit me, or convict me to a competition ban of maximum six months.

    “The rider is the person who is considered responsible for the horse in every way, thus the verdict will be ‘guilty’, unless I can prove how exactly the substance got into my horse. Being innocent is not sufficient to avoid a verdict including a ban.

    “Thus it had been my first aim to clear up the course of events, find a satisfying explanation and convincing evidence to achieve an acquittal and keep my record clean.”

    Julia said she was grateful for support from a UK solicitor and toxicologist in her “reconstructing the total routine around Sam” between 3 August, when a routine sample was clean, and the positive test on 20 August.

    She said the investigation “confirmed that the substance can only have been absorbed… at any one time between the dressage and cross-country test at the European Championships”.

    Julia added that she was unable to discover who may have entered the stable area at night at the competition, in Strzegom, Poland, and she has ruled out “with certainty a mistake in my own stable management”.

    She added: “After expiry of the FEI time limit, I must regrettably admit the goal ‘acquittal’ is not attainable. The evidence we were able to collect is not sufficient to advocate an application to the FEI Tribunal.

    “Concerning the FEI, this case will be closed, but not for me. I will have to ponder the consequences this incident implicates for my future. Not to know what really happened to Sam will remain a constant worry to me.

    “The wellbeing of my horses is always my first priority, and I will take every possible measure to make sure that something like that can never happen again. I will make use of the next months to design the best possible security for my horses both at home and at competitions.

    “During the last weeks, I have frequently questioned myself whether I should really pursue my equestrian athlete career, looking at the situation in which I had got. Eventually, my great love and passion for this sport made me realise that the unsurpassable feeling of fellowship and content, resulting from the success which I achieve together with my horses, is the salt of my life. Working and caring for my horses has been the only cure to the worries of the last dreadful weeks.

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    “I refuse to sacrifice my belief in the fairness and comradeship which is so unique to our sport, and the countless sympathetic reactions I received from the worldwide eventing family affirm this conviction. I do not yet feel at ease, to concentrate on winter training and preparation of my horses for next year’s eventing season.

    “But I hope that time will heal, give us some relief and recreation, for a fresh start into the new year.”

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