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Swiss equestrians ride again after drugs appeal

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Swiss equestrians ride again after drugs appeal
Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets compete in La Baule in May. Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP
08:31 CEST+02:00
Swiss rider Steve Guerdat, the individual show jumping gold medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, is free to compete again after the international equestrian federation (FEI) announced on Monday they would lift a provisional ban.

The 33-year-old was suspended last week after his horses Nino des Buissonnets and Nasa both tested positive for banned substance codeine and the controlled medication substance morphine, with the former also testing positive for oripavine, at an event in the French town of La Baule in May.
   
Another Swiss rider, Alessandra Bichsel, also won her appeal against a provisional suspension and can also compete although her horse remains suspended.
   
The FEI said in a statement on Monday the probability was the substances had found their way into the horses systems due to contaminated feed.
   
"The FEI Tribunal's decision is mainly based on the scientific evidence presented by the persons responsible (the athletes) which suggests the likelihood of food contamination," read the FEI's statement.
   
Guerdat, 33, who won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, will now be able to compete in the European Championships at Aachen, Germany, from August 19th-23rd.
   
However, neither of the horses who tested positive will be available to him as they remain suspended from competition for two months.
   
"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," read the FEI statement.
   
"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."
   
However, the FEI made it clear that it was not the end of the affair.
   
"Today's (Monday) 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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