independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Olympic chief devastated by horse doping scandal

Vice-President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Sven Holmberg gives a press conference after four horses were been banned Photo: Mike Clarke/Getty Images

The head of the Irish Olympic team spoke today of his disappointment after rider Denis Lynch was forced to withdraw from the showjumping final over a doping offence.

The 32-year-old favourite for a medal at the Hong Kong event was suspended when his horse Lantinus tested positive for a banned substance.

"(It) is a bitter pill to swallow," chef de mission Dermot Henihan said.

The shocked Olympic chief revealed he had not spoken to Lynch.

"We were all looking forward to another night of success at the Games and the hopes were dashed with this regrettable news," he said.

"It's very disappointing.

"The simple fact of life is he is not allowed to ride tonight, he can't ride for a medal and that is a bitter pill to swallow."

The showjumper was sensationally dumped from the Games just four hours before the finals were due to begin.

Doping control tests indicated the presence of capsaicin - a prohibited substance - in Lantinus as well as three other horses from Germany, Brazil and Norway.

The result is an embarrassment for the sport which is still haunted by memories of showjumper Cian O'Connor being stripped of his gold medal four years ago in Athens.

Results then revealed his horse Waterford Crystal tested positive for "prohibited substances", but O'Connor has repeatedly denied that he was guilty of any wrongdoing.

The B-sample taken from Lantinus is expected to be analysed on Saturday.

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