Suspension lifted for Steve Guerdat, but Nino still out

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Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets.
Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets. © Rolex Grand Slam/ Kit Houghton.

Provisional suspensions imposed on Swiss jumping riders Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel have been lifted by the FEI Tribunal after preliminary hearings last week.

The lifting of the suspensions came into force at midnight on Monday.

The FEI Tribunal said its decision was mainly based on the scientific evidence presented by the riders, which suggests the likelihood of food contamination.

It was earlier reported that poppy-seed contamination was thought to be behind the positive tests.

Both riders had been provisionally suspended after horses on which they were competing tested positive for prohibited substances, including banned substances.

Steve Guerdat of Switzerland riding Nino Des Buissonnets celebrates winning the Gold medal in the Individual Jumping Equestrian on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Steve Guerdat and Nino Des Buissonnets after winning the Gold medal in the Individual Jumping at the London 2012 Olympic Games. © London 2012

Samples taken at the CSIO5* at La Baule in France on May 17 from Guerdat’s Olympic gold medalist Nino des Buissonnets returned positive for the banned substances Codeine and Oripavine, and the controlled medication substance Morphine.

Samples taken at the CSIO5* at La Baule on May 16 from Guerdat’s horse Nasa returned positive for the banned substance Codeine and the controlled medication substance Morphine. The horse’s sample also showed traces of Oripavine, but not at a sufficiently high level for the testing laboratory to declare a positive for the substance.

Samples taken at the CSIOY (Young Riders) in Deauville, France on May 8 from Alessandra Bichsel’s horse Charivari KG returned positive for the banned substances Codeine and Oripavine, and the controlled medication substance Morphine.

A preliminary hearing was held via teleconference on July 23 to hear Steve Guerdat’s request to lift the provisional suspension imposed on him and the two horses Nino des Buissonnets and Nasa, and another the following day to hear Alessandra Bichsel’s request.

While the FEI Tribunal lifted the provisional suspensions on the two riders, requests for the lifting of the provisional suspension on the three horses were denied. The Tribunal found that irrespective of the source of the prohibited substances, banned substances had been found in the system of the horses and it is the FEI’s established policy to impose a provisional suspension period of two months in such cases.

The decisions purely ruled on the lifting of the provisional suspensions. Decisions on the merits of the cases will be made at a later stage.

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