Jessica Kurten accuses FEI of major errors

  • Irish show jumper Jessica Kurten has accused the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) of “gross procedural errors” over the medication case concerning her horse Castle Forbes Maike.

    A second sample from Jessica’s horse tested positive last week for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called Etoricoxib. The sample was collected at La Baule, France, in May this year.

    The drug is classed by the FEI as “medication” rather than “dope”, making this a more minor infringement than for some substances .

    If Jessica accepts liability, she would pay 750 Swiss francs (£320) fine and forfeit the €22,000 (£15,400) she won at the show. But the rider insists her horse was not given any drug and has said she wants the case heard by an FEI tribunal. She has also publicly accused the FEI of bungling the case.

    “These things must be clarified…for the public impression of our sport, and its federation,” she said in a statement.

    “The justifiable demand for clean sport is inseparable from the athlete’s right to a fair and correct hearing.”

    Jessica claims that the news of Castle Forbes Maike’s first positive test was “indiscreetly passed on to the Irish and German media” in August, during the European Show Jumping Championships in Mannheim, Germany (news, 30 August).

    She claims the FEI will not confirm how much of the drug was found in the samples and that an independent analyst was not allowed to witness the testing of the second “B” sample on her behalf.

    Jessica also claims the media were informed of the positive B test before she and her lawyers were.

    FEI spokesman Malina Gueorguiev denies this.

    “We are extremely careful to follow our own rules so there can be no procedural errors,” she said, explaining that FEI rules permit a witness to check that a B sample is not contaminated, but not the actual testing.

    She added that information leaked to the press about the positive A sample had not come from the FEI.

    When H&H went to press on Monday, Ms Gueorguiev said the FEI had not been formally notified of Jessica’s complaints or her request for a hearing.

    In September 2004 Jessica’s horse, Castle Forbes Libertina, tested positive for a prohibited substance at a show in Calgary. Jessica blamed contaminated feed. But the case was dropped by FEI when the sample container was found to have a leak.

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (18 October, ’07)

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