Isabell Werth’s Suspension for Doping Doubled to One Year

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Isabell Werth. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Isabell Werth. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WARENDORF, Germany, Sept. 24–Isabell Werth’s suspension for doping has been doubled for participation on team competitions to a full year on the recommendation of the German Olympic Committee that investigated illegal drug use beginning with the 2008 Olympics.

The German Equestrian Federation accepted the recommendation of the Olympic Committee and said that the one-year ban against Isabell competing on a German team would begin on June 23.

It was unclear whether Isabell would be able to compete in the 2010 World Cup next March which is a competition for individuals.

Even with the one-year ban, though, she could compete in the Nations Cup at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen in July and the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in September, 2010.

The FEI tribunal earlier this year suspended Werth, 40, until Dec. 22 for the use of the drug Modecate that contains the banned substance Fluphenazine on the horse, Whsiper, that suffers from Shivering Syndrome.

However, because of controversy over doping found in six horses–five jumpers and one dressage–at the Beijing Games and admissions by other German riders of the use of drugs in their horses television broadcasters threatened to cancel coverage of horse events and the German Federation announced a zero tolerance policy.

As a result, the German FN had been expected to make an example of Isabell who has been Germany’s leading rider and an international superstar for two decades. She admitted the use of the drug more than two weeks before the competition and said that her veterinarian told her that it should not be detected in the horse’s system after more than six days.

The German FN statement said of the Olympic Committee report:

“In the case of Isabell Werth, the commssion recommended a one-year-old team beginning from her suspension on the 23rd of June, 2009.

“This was based on the determination by the commission that the horse was clearly doped by Ms. Werth.”

The German FN announced a series of steps to tighten controls over illegal drug use and to submit veterinarians to use of drugs in horses. Present practice specifies the rider as the “person responsible” and thus liable.

Other recommendations that the FN will consider include faster turnaround of drug tests–they presently take as long as a month for results to be returned–plus the creation of a new department to investigate illegal drug use.