Olympic Entry Final Deadline Passes, Canadian Case Reported Still Unresolved

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Karen Pavicic on Don Daiquiri in Austria © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Karen Pavicic on Don Daiquiri in Austria © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

July 20, 2016

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The names of 60 dressage riders and horses for the Olympic Games were submitted to the Internationa Equestrian Federation (FEI) by the deadline this week though a last-minute change could come from a complaint over judging at the final qualifying event in Canada.

A flurry of announcements completed naming combinations for the 11 countries with teams of four for a total of 44–Australia, host Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

A total of 16 individuals come from Austria, Belgium, Canada (2), Dominican Republic, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Palestine, Russia (2), South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland and Ukraine.

The dispute over Canada’s individuals is centered on remarks allegedly made by Elizabeth McMullen, FEI 5* judge, at Cedar Valley, Ottawa CDI3* in June.

There, her score was the highest of the five judges, in the Grand Prix and qualified Megan Lane and Caravella for the second start at Rio along with Belinda Trussell and Anton. The result overtook Karen Pavicic on Don Daiquiri who then flew with her horse to Europe in an unsuccessful effort to regain her position. She and Don Daiquiri were named as reserve for Rio.

A complaint was filed with the FEI though Karen said that confidentiality prevented her from discussing the case.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based governing body of international horse sports has not confirmed in response to questions from dressage-news.com whether FEI Judge General Stephen Clarke, who was foreign judge at Cedar Valley, had reported the alleged remarks and, if so, whether an investigation was being conducted.

Although the deadline has now passed for final entries, substitutes can be made as late as seven days before the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. Dressage horse inspection is Aug. 8.

Two Russian combinations are also subject to drug testing as a result of alleged widespread doping in Russia though there is no indication equestrians are in any way involved.

Inessa Merkulova, 51 years old on Mister X, 12-year-old Russian-bred Trakehner gelding, and Marina Aframeeva, 25 years old, and Vosk, 11-year-old Russian-bred Hanoverian gelding, will be drug tested with all Russian athletes as required by the International Olympic Committee following an official report of systematic doping and phony testing in that country.

“The FEI takes its responsibility to ensure clean athletes go to the Games in Rio very seriously,” a FEI spokesperson replied to a question from dressage-news.com. “The FEI is a signatory to the WADA Code (World Anti-Doping Agency) and the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules are based on the WADA Code.” Testing laboratories approved by the FEI are all outside Russia.