The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has defended its decision to allow a dressage horse that failed a drug test in June to compete at the Rio Olympics.
Suzanne Hearn’s Olympic ride Remmington tested positive for controlled medication meloxicam at Rotterdam CDI3* in June.
Meloxicam is a non-steroidical anti-inflamatory drug that is listed on the “controlled medication” part of the FEI’s equine prohibited substances list (EPSL).
Items on this list are deemed by the FEI to have therapeutic value and/or be commonly used in equine medicine. However, they are not allowed to be present in a horse on competition days.
She accepted the FEI’s administrative sanction on 5 August of a fine of 1,500 Swiss francs (£1,192.98), plus costs, and disqualification from the Dutch show.
A statement from the AOC said it became aware that a notification of positive controlled medication had been issued on 3 August.
“By that time the Australian dressage team, including Sue Hearn and her horse Remmington were already on the ground in Rio,” said an AOC spokesman.
“There was no travelling reserve with dressage and it was not logistically possible to make a substitute.
“Equestrian Australia nominated Sue Hearn in good faith to the AOC who subsequently selected Hearn to the Australian Olympic team.
“Sport entries were complete, the nomination and selection period was no longer current and therefore relevant.
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“Sue accepted the administrative sanction immediately and was cleared by the FEI to compete.
“Given the circumstances the AOC felt Sue should retain her place in the team.”
Suzanne, who was riding as an individual for Australia, finished 54th at the Games.