Wednesday, August 05, 2009

UAE: Shaikh Mohammed made to wait

The National
Zoë Griffiths
August 04. 2009

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will not be allowed to compete in International Equestrian Federation (FEI) endurance horse races until October 3 after an inquiry – the results of which were made public yesterday – confirmed one of his horses had been given banned substances.

He removed himself from events in April after his lawyers said horses at the Emaar Stables in Dubai had revealed traces of banned substances.

The investigation focused on Tahhan, a horse he rode at the CEI 120 kilometre endurance event in Sakhir, Bahrain on January 10 and the CEI 120 kilometre event in Dubai on February 28. The horse was found to have traces of two banned drugs in its system.

They were Guanabenz, a drug used to manage hypertension in humans, with a calming and pain relieving effect on animals, and, the anabolic steroid 16-b Hydroxy-Stanozolol, used by Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The FEI’s tribunal panel yesterday banned Sheikh Mohammed for six months, backdated to April, and fined him 4,000 Swiss Francs (Dh13,840). His trainer, Abdullah bin Huzaim, received a ban of 12 months and a fine of 4,000 Swiss Francs. Bin Huzaim admitted giving the horse drugs without Sheikh Mohammed’s knowledge.

Under the governing body’s strict liability approach to anti-doping rules, the FEI found Sheikh Mohammed the principle person responsible and his trainer as the secondary individual responsible

Bin Huzaim defended his actions, saying he believed the horse was in need of the medication. In a letter to the tribunal panel, Sheikh Mohammed said that with an ownership stake in 700 endurance horses he could not be expected to be aware of each horse’s medication. He is one of the world’s leading owners and breeders of thoroughbred racehorses.

Sheikh Mohammed’s wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, is the president of the FEI and has been campaigning to clean up its doping problems. He is allowed to compete in non-FEI events.