All equestrian drug tests clear at Paralympic Games

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Belgium's Barbara Minneci and Barilla in the Grade II Team test.
Belgium’s Barbara Minneci and Barilla in the Grade II Team test. © FEI/Liz Gregg

All equine and human samples taking during the para-equestrian competitions at the London Paralympic Games have tested negative for banned substances.

The FEI welcomed the news that the para-equestrian events had continued the clean sport success of the London Olympic equestrian events.

Para-equestrian dressage, the only equestrian discipline included in the Paralympic Games, has been a regular fixture on the Paralympic schedule since Atlanta in 1996.

In 2006, the FEI became one of the first international federations to govern and regulate a sport for para-athletes when para-equestrian dressage joined the ranks of the FEI’s seven disciplines.

All equine athletes competing in the Paralympic Games are now tested according to the FEI’s equine anti-doping rules.

“All human and equine samples taken during the Paralympic equestrian events in Greenwich Park have been confirmed negative,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos said.

“This is an extremely proud day for the FEI and the international equestrian community – equestrian sport has been clean at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The London 2012 Paralympic Games have been truly astonishing, touching the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, and key to the success of future Games is this focus on clean sport and fair play.”

A total of 78 human and 77 equine athletes from 27 nations competed in London’s Greenwich Park.

London welcomed a record-breaking 4250 athletes who competed in 503 events over 12 days at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, making them the biggest since the first Paralympic Games took place in Rome in 1960.

Over 120,000 tickets were sold for the six Para-Equestrian Dressage competition days, and with additional tickets sold at the gates of Greenwich Park, the previous ticket sales record of 33,000 at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games was easily surpassed.

In total, 2.7 million tickets were sold for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, compared to the previous record of 1.8 million for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

Pictures of this year’s Paralympics were shown to a global audience of over a billion people in over 100 countries, thanks to the International Paralympic Committee’s broadcast partnerships in place around the world and its own broadcast system ParalympicSport.TV.

“The London 2012 Paralympic Games were simply the biggest and the best yet for many reasons,” International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven said.

“We are delighted that the equestrian events at Greenwich Park were clean. Clean sport is fundamental to the future development of all sports, whether they are already in the Paralympic programme or want to one day join us.

“Clean sport at the Paralympic Games is also the best example we can make to youngsters who dream of representing their country in the future.

“The Para-Equestrian athletes who competed in London have inspired warm welcomes on returning home, and the International Paralympic Committee hopes to see them again at Rio 2016, for the first Olympic and Paralympic Games to take place in South America.”

The number of FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage events has increased by 120 per cent between 2008 and 2011, and as the popularity of the sport grows the number of events being held around the world is steadily increasing.

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