Tokyo team showjumping line-up in the balance as further positive drug tests revealed

  • Two more positive rider drug tests could lead to a change in the line-up of teams in the 2020 Olympic showjumping.

    Qatari riders Sheikh Ali Al Thani, 37, and Bassem Mohammed, 32, both tested positive for a metabolite of cannabis, carboxy-THC, at the Olympic jumping qualifier for Group F (Africa & Middle East) in Rabat in October.

    Carboxy-THC is a prohibited substance under the FEI’s anti-doping rules for humans and must not be present in a rider’s body on competition days.

    The riders have not been provisionally suspended as carboxy-THC is listed as a specified substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) prohibited list, which the FEI adheres to.

    “Specified substances should not in any way be considered less important or less dangerous than other doping substances,” said a statement from the FEI.

    “Rather, they are simply substances which are more likely to have been consumed by an athlete for a purpose other than the enhancement of sport performance.

    “Positive cases involving specified substances can be handled with a greater degree of flexibility within the structure of the FEI regulations.”

    WADA also recognises that it is possible for specified substances to enter an athlete’s body inadvertently.

    There were two team tickets available at the Moroccan event, which went to winners Egypt and ninth-placed Qatar, who were the next highest-placed team eligible to pick up a Tokyo spot.

    Should the final decision by the FEI Tribunal result in disqualification, the place would go to Morroco.

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    H&H has contacted the Qatar equestrian federation for comment.

    The Qatar news follows an earlier change to the showjumping team line-up as a result of a different failed drugs test.

    Canada, who won a place at Tokyo 2020 at the Pan American Games in Lima in August after finishing fourth, has subsequently lost its Olympic spot after team rider Nicole Walker tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine.

    She said the positive test was based on the consumption of coca leaf tea on 7 August is appealing the decision through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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