Two Saudi showjumpers face Olympic ban

  • Two top Saudi showjumpers face being barred from the London Olympics after being accused of using a banned drug on their horses.

    Sydney Olympic bronze medallist Khaled Addulaziz Al Eid’s horse Vanhoeve tested positive for phenylbutazone (bute) and oxyphenbutazone at the CSI*** in Riyadh (30 November-3 December 2011).

    And Abdullah Al Sharbatly’s ride, Lobster 43, tested positive for the same substances at the CSI*** in Al Ain (9-11 February).

    Al Sharbatly won silver at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky and both riders were likely to be on the Saudi team for London.

    The substances are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and deemed controlled medications under international rules.

    The riders appeared before an FEI tribunal on 18 and 19 April, confirmed FEI general counsel Liza Lazarus.

    She said tribunal decisions are “generally issued within 30 days of the hearing, but may take longer”.

    Of 15 positive dope cases currently being investigated by the FEI, nine involve horses from Arab states – seven in endurance.

    Al Sharbatly and Al Eid are provisionally suspended from competition. If found guilty of a medication offence, they face a ban that could rule them out of the Olympics.

    Saudi Arabia bought a number of showjumping horses before the Olympic transfer deadline on 31 December 2011, including Robert Smith’s Talan.

    Their showjumpers are based in Wisbeq, Belgium, in the run-up to the Olympics.

    The Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation could not be reached for comment.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (26 April)

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