Isabell Werth Thanks Supporters, Asks for Privacy as Mother-To-Be
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RHEINBERG, Germany, July 12–Isabell Werth has extended thanks to supporters who have stood by her since being suspended from competition for discovery of a banned substance in her small tour horse, Whisper.
Werth, 39, said she “can only wait” for the hearing on July 21–her birthday–by an International Equestrian Federation tribunal.
The world’s most successful rider asked for privacy in her personal life. She is five months’ pregnant.
She said the Aachen CHIO June 26-July 5 would have been her last major tournament–she was entered with her Olympic mount, Satchmo, Warum Nicht FRH and Whisper–before the baby.
Her case has sparked turmoil within horse sports.
The German national federation (FN) has criticized her and warned that if the FEI penalty is not as severe as they want they will appeal and seek a harsher penalty as they did successfully in the case of Olympic jumper rider Christian Ahlmann. The FEI imposed a suspension of 90 days, the same as for four other riders found to have used the substance capsaicin, but the FN appealed to double the length of Ahlmann’s suspension. The FN’s position is believed motivated primarily by the fear of losing lucrative television broadcast revenues.
FEI President Princess Haya has come out in support of Werth, as have groups representing the top jumping, dressage and eventing riders. Rival competitors have spoken out for more respectful treatment by the FN of Werth for a previously unblemished record at the highest levels of the sport.
“I would like to say at this point, thanks,” she wrote on her personal Internet web site. “Thank you to all those who do not doubt my integrity in spite of the doping charge directed against me, and think that the medication was carried out for Whisper within the scope of a treatment for the benefit of the horse and not because of a tournament.
“I have received a lot of cheering up mail from home and foreign countries which gives me courage in view of the whole media situation. This support means a lot to me.
“At the moment I can wait only for how the FEI hearing will go on the 21st of July.
“However, there is a positive to report.
“Yes, I am pregnant and we are very happy.
“The planned participation in Aachen CHIO would have been provisionally my last big start.
“I know that many people have a lot of questions. When is the baby due? Is it a girl or a boy?
“However, I ask everybody to respect my private sphere. As a top sportswoman, I am a public person, as an expectant mother I would like to experience this time, nevertheless, quite privately.”