Further twists in Olympic doping saga

  • 2 November, 04

    The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) announced yesterday that a portion of the doping test B-sample from Irish show jumper Waterford Crystal has been “illegally taken” in Cambridge on 21 October.

    Cian O’Connor and Waterford Crystal won Ireland’s only Olympic gold medal in the individual show jumping earlier this year. But Waterford Crystal tested positive for a banned sedative and O’Connor, who risks losing his medal over the matter, asked the FEI to run a counter test on a second sample — the so-called B sample — which had also been taken from the horse in Athens.

    Connor was concerned that a drug may have remained in Waterford Crystal’s system after being administered at a hydrotherapy session in July.

    “I believe that I won this medal fair and square and that the horse has not been given anything that would make him jump better,” he said at the time. “I plan to have the B sample tested as soon as possible and to proceed from there with the FEI.”

    The B sample was being shipped by courier from the Medication Control Programme Central Laboratory in Paris to the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory in Cambridgeshire when it was taken on 21 October.

    The FEI has started an internal investigation, and police in Cambridge and Lausanne are also looking into the case. The Equestrian Federation of Ireland has immediately asked the FEI for further information and President Avril Doyle MEP requested a meeting in Lausanne.

    “At this stage there are more questions than answers,” Doyle says. “But I don’t like what I’m hearing.”

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    2 November, 04

    The Waterford Crystal case took an even more sinister turn earlier this morning when the EFI offices at Kildare Paddocks, Kill, Co. Kildare were broken into.

    The break-in may not be connected to the disappearance of Waterford Crystal’s B-test sample, but the fact that the burglary took place immediately after yesterday’s announcement by the FEI leaves room for speculation that the two events may be connected.

    “Someone looking for documentation pertaining to this case could be the most obvious suspect, unless it’s just a random burglary” says EFI spokesman Colin McClelland. “The only documentation that is in there is something that Cian O’Connor and his solicitors would have copy of.”

    O’Connor is not talking to the public at the moment, but, McClelland says, “I know Cian is incredibly anxious about [the B-sample being stolen] because he wants it all brought to its proper conclusion.”

    Police still have EFI offices cordoned off so very little information is available at the moment.

    3 November, 04

    The EFI has announced that the remaining portion of Waterford Crystal’s B-sample will be tested at the USA Equestrian Drug Testing and Research Laboratory in New York (USA Lab) from 8 November.

    The sample was originally going to be tested at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racing Laboratory, but solicitors for the FEI informed Cian O’Connor’s solicitors that they were “denied the possibility” of having the test carried out in Hong Kong, and would instead send the sample to the USA Lab.

    4 November, 04

    The EFI has revealed that the case file about ABC Landliebe, who tested positive for a prohibited substance earlier this year, was among the items stolen during the burglary at the EFI offices in the early hours of Tuesday morning. However, the file on Waterford Crystal was not taken in the break in, and is now in the custody of the Gardai.

    9 November, 04

    Cian O’Connor’s lawyer has confirmed tonight that amounts of Fluphenazine and Zuclophentixol had been found in Waterford Crystal’s B sample tested in New York on Monday. The finding increases the likelihood that O’Connor will be stripped of the gold medal.


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