France claims endurance gold

  • After months of uncertainty, France has been awarded individual gold for the FEI World Endurance Championship. Barbara Lissarague had originally finished in silver medal position behind Sheikh Hazza bin Sultan al Nahyan from United Arab Emirates in last January’s Championships, but the Court for the Arbitration of Sport (CAS) has decided to uphold the positive medication case against the Sheikh, casting Lissarague into poll position.

    The Sheikh and his mount, Hachim, finished first in the World Championships, which took place in Dubai on Thursday, 27 January. However, a subsequent test on Hachim’s urine sample, revealed the presence of Methylprednisolone, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid banned under FEI rules. The Sheikh was thus disqualified and the gold medal awarded to Lissarague.

    But due to a procedural error, the medication tests on Hachim’s urine sample were found to be against standard FEI practice, which enables riders allegedly involved in doping cases to state their position and request a counter test. The Sheikh lodged an official protest against the Championships’ organising committee. The FEI Judicial Committee agreed there had been an error and decided that the urine test should be disregarded. Sheikh Hazza was declared the winner once more with Lissarague in second place and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum taking bronze.

    But the Organising Committee of the 2005 World Endurance Championship, Barbara Lissarague and the Fédération Française d’Equitation (French Equestrian Federation) decided to appeal the Committee’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. On Friday it was announced that the appeal has been won.

    FEI President HRH Doña Pilar de Borbón said: “I believe that the CAS decision is fair for equestrian sport. We are fighting hard for a clean sport, and have made tremendous efforts to put the federation’s anti-doping rules for horses in line with the WADA code. The doping of a horse is perfectly unacceptable as, contrary to a human athlete, the horse is not in a position to accept or refuse the treatment it receives.”

    Sven Holmberg (SWE), Chairman of the FEI Task Force on Doping and Medication policy established at the end of 2004 added, “This decision is perfectly in line with the spirit of the Task Force recommendations. Regardless of formalities, the bottom-line of the case is that the horse indisputably tested positive and had to be disqualified to restore sports equity.”

    The new official results of the FEI World Endurance Championship, held in Dubai on 27 January 2005 are the following:
    Individual Classification

    Gold: Barbara Lissarague (FRA) /Gorgeat

    Silver: HH Sh Mohd bin Rashid Al Maktoum (UAE) / Nashmi

    Bronze: HE Sh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan (UAE) / Mindari Aenzac

    There is no change to the team medals.

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