After several drug positives placed him on suspension, an Olympic show jumper is cleared to return to the competition arena this week after authorities discovered feed contamination could be to blame.
Steve Guerdat had two horses test positive for two substances – codeine and morphine – and had trace amounts of oripavine after a competition earlier this year in France. Another Swiss rider, Alessandra Bichsel, had a horse test positive for all three substances after a different competition in France around the same time. Federation Equestre International officials questioned the test results because oripavine, the parent compound of etorphine and buprenorphine, is not found in veterinary products, but had to place both riders and their horses on suspension as a matter of policy until they could learn more.
All three substances are associated with poppy seed ingestion, according to an FEI statement.
Three other horses in 2014 tested for oripavine and morphine, and competitors in each case raised objections to their suspensions, which were initially denied by the FEI's Tribunal. The riders in those cases gathered “sufficient evidence” to suggest that the positives were rooted in feed contamination, and the FEI ultimately lifted their suspensions.
“Due to increasing evidence of poppy seed contamination resulting in positives, the FEI downgraded Morphine from a Banned Substance to Controlled Medication in 2013,” read the statement. “Among a number of proposed changes to the Equine Prohibited Substances List due to come into effect on 1 January 2016, Codeine is listed for a similar downgrading to Controlled Medication.”
Read more at NBC Sports
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