Rider at Pan-Am Games tests positive for metabolite of cocaine

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A Canadian showjumping rider who competed at the Pan-American Games in Peru in August has tested positive for a metabolic byproduct of cocaine.

Nicole Walker has been provisionally suspended by the FEI as a consequence.

Walker was a member of the fourth-placed Canadian team and also finished fourth with Falco Van Spieveld in the individual final at the games.

The sample was taken on August 7, the day of the team final in Lima.

It tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, which is a prohibited substance under the FEI’s anti-doping rules for human athletes.

The FEI says Walker has the option to request a preliminary hearing before the FEI Tribunal to apply for the lifting of the provisional suspension.

Disqualification of the athlete is a separate proceeding that is part of the results management process dealt with by Panam Sports, which organises the Pan-American Games.

The athlete has exercised her right to request a hearing before the Panam Sports Disciplinary Commission.

Once the Disciplinary Commission has made a decision on the disqualification of the athlete, and team Canada’s final placing, the FEI will be in a position to make any necessary reallocation of the Olympic quota.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota places were available to the three best-ranked teams from Groups D (North America) and/or E (Central & South America) at the Pan-American Games this year, excluding the teams already qualified.

The three teams that earned qualification in Peru were Brazil, Mexico and Canada.

The FEI said in a statement it would not comment further on the case at this time, in order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing legal process.

Equestrian Canada said in a statement it was firmly committed to clean sport.

“We also believe in standing behind our athletes, and fully support Nicole during this challenging situation. Equestrian Canada will be working closely with Nicole and her legal team as appropriate next steps are determined.”

It said it would not comment further on the ongoing legal process.

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