Showjumper ruled out of Tokyo after positive cocaine test

  • The Australian showjumping team’s Tokyo plans have been thrown into disarray after one of its members tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine.

    In a statement today (21 July) Equestrian Australia (EA) said it had provisionally suspended Jamie Kermond under the Australian national anti-doping policy. Jamie had been due to make his Olympic debut with Oaks Constellation, alongside Edwina Tops-Alexander on Identity Vitseroel and Katie Laurie Casebrook Lomond.

    “The mandatory provisional suspension notice asserts Mr Kermond returned a positive A-sample for a metabolite of cocaine following a test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia on 26 June 2021. Cocaine is prohibited in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Australian national anti-doping policy 2021,” read the statement.

    “Mr Kermond is prohibited from participating in any WADA compliant event, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while the provisional suspension is in place.”

    Under the anti-doping policy, Jamie has the opportunity to have his B-sample analysed.

    In a statement Jamie said he was informed of the positive result and “it is likely” the positive result was from a “single recreational use” of the drug during a social event, and had no connections with the sport.

    “I am extremely upset and remorseful as to what has happened and I accept full responsibility,” he added. “I am truly sorry as I have let a lot of people down including my family and team-mates.

    “Hopefully one day I can be forgiven for my mistake and make amends through better actions and continued contribution to the sport I know and love.”

    The spokesman for EA said the organisation has spoken to Jamie and “support services will be offered to him”.

    The Australian Olympic showjumping team’s position is currently unclear. Reserve rider Rowan Willis withdrew from his position on 9 July, stating that he had “weighed up the options very carefully” and considered it in the best interest of his ride, Blue Movie, not to undertake such a demanding global travel schedule when Equestrian Australia “had made it clear there was no tactical plan” for the pair to start.

    Rowan appears on the FEI Tokyo definite entries list, which was last updated today, as does Jamie. H&H has approached EA for comment.

    In a statement today Edwina Tops-Alexander said it was a “sad day for all of us”.

    “I never imagined our team (or what’s left of it) would ever be in this situation. At the moment I’m not sure what the overall outcome is but it’s definitely a rollercoaster I won’t forget,” she said.

    “We stay strong we keep going and listen to ourselves. People in life need to be responsible for their own actions and they know what they are. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to Tokyo next week as an individual. I’ll keep you all posted.”

    Update: On 22 July, EA said the organisation is working with the FEI to “determine the options” available to Edwina and Katie ahead of the Games.

    “Over the past 24 hours there has been much speculation online and in the media surrounding this issue, however EA’s focus at this time has to be on supporting our dressage and eventing athletes who are already on the ground in Tokyo and are now less than 48 hours away from representing Australia on the world’s largest sporting stage,” read the statement.

    “Currently we have no answers regarding the possibility of our jumping athletes starting as individuals at Tokyo 2020. For the benefit of our jumping, and broader equestrian team, we want to have the matter resolved promptly and are working tirelessly with the Australian Olympic Committee to determine a solution. As soon as the information becomes available all our stakeholders will be informed.”

    The statement added that EA encourages the wider Australian community to continue to show support for its athletes, who have dedicated the past five years to get to the Olympics, as they head into the competition phase of the Games.

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