Dominican Republic “Official” Protest over Central & South American Olympic Qualifying Moves Ahead

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Luiza Almeida on Samba at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The International Equestrian Federation notified the Dominican Republic national federation Tuesday that it has accepted as “official” a protest against approval for Brazil to hold Olympic qualifying competitions with mostly national judges.

A Brazilian combination competing before the judging panels could become the sole individual competitor from central and South America at the London Games.

The Dominican Republic claims that competitions in Brazil were approved by the FEI in violation of the rules while Yvonne Loses de Muñiz rode Liebling II in shows that met the requirements.

The FEI, the International Olympic Committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport where the case may end up as the court of last resort, are all based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Luíza Tavares de Almeida and Samba, the 13-year-old Lusitano stallion on which she competed at the Beijing Games in 2008, were awarded personal best scores in the final Brazil competition last weekend.

The results were enough to give her an edge over Yvonne and Liebling ahead of the Mar. 1 deadline for individuals to qualify for the Olympics.

The Dominican Republic reports that it advised the FEI in January the Brazilian competitions with three national judges, instead of a maximum of two, on the ground jury of five was a violation of the rules.

But, it said, the FEI that makes the final decision on all applications for CDIs, gave approval anyway although Brazil would have had time to bring in another foreign judge.

Under the rules, according to the official protest, the FEI Dressage Committee and the Executive Board must approve an exception to the rules.

No such exception was sought or granted for the CDIs in Brazil, the federation reported after a review of official records.

Colombia was the only nation in Central and South America with its population of more than 400 million to qualify a team for the Olympics this summer.

The group that includes Central and South America is allocated a single individual place in addition to the team at the Olympics.

The FEI legal department is now reviewing the case.

Luíza and Samba competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics while Yvonne has won two individual bronze medals at Pan American Games in her quest to become the Dominican Republic’s first equestrian competitor at an Olympics.