Irish Equestrian Disqualified from Olympics for Medication Positive

The panel of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Tribunal has rendered its final decision in the prohibited substance case involving the horse Lantinus 3 ridden by Denis Lynch of Ireland at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Lynch was suspended for a period of three months (90 days), which is considered to have begun Aug. 21, and will therefore run to Nov. 21. He was fined CHF 1,750 (Swiss francs, $1,569 USD), and will also contribute CHF 2,000 ($1,766) towards the costs of the legal procedure as the proceedings were complicated by the numerous intermediary filings. The horse and the rider are disqualified from the entire Olympic Games.

In reaching its conclusion the Tribunal concluded the substance at issue--capsaicin--was a "Medication Class A" rather than a "Doping" substance, based on their interpretation of the list of prohibited substances.

In considering the sanctions to be given to Lynch in this case, the Tribunal considered:

  • the fact that Lynch is an experienced sportsman and that the behavior of anyone at the top of the sport and particularly at the Olympic Games must be faultless since the eyes of the world focus on performances at such events;
  • the nature of the substance involved--capsaicin--which is not only a pain relieving substance, but also an agent that can be used for hypersensitization purposes; and
  • the fact that the sources of the presence of the substance argued by the rider indicate negligence by using a "pain relieving" substance, including at the event, on the horse's back, without checking whether it contains any prohibited substances.

On the other hand, the Tribunal also considered:

  • the clean record of the rider, prior to the present case;
  • the hardship already caused to the rider;
  • the identification and evidence produced by the rider, as early as during the preliminary hearing, regarding the sources of the presence of the substance; and
  • the substance is a newly detectable substance which is often used by riders also for legitimate therapeutic reasons.

Denis Lynch has 30 days to appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Read the full text of the ruling on the FEI Web site.  

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