Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Foolproof Way to Reduce Doping Violations: Stop Testing!

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Cuckson Report | March 26, 2018

The endurance “round table” at the 2012 FEI sports forum was the first time stakeholders started to openly shame the desert sport.

The evening before I was introduced to the UAE delegate Dr Hallvard Sommerseth. Perhaps anticipating the next day’s debate, he told me the only reason the UAE recorded far more doping violations than anyone else was because the UAE had far more horses and did far more sampling than anyone else.

While this had a simple logic, I am always sceptical when people justify their position to someone they’ve only just met. That is sometimes a good instinct; three years later the FEI suspended Dr Sommerseth for faking ride results on an industrial scale.

Dr S might, of course, have given me 100% bona fide information about the UAE’s anti-doping measures in 2012, though I wouldn’t have been able to check it out independently; back then the FEI only divulged anti-doping returns from competitions staged in Europe.

In 2012, though, you could at least get a snapshot of Dubai’s attitude to doping from a decade’s worth of sampling returns from Euston Park, Sheikh Mohammed’s satellite venue in the UK. Sampling was undertaken at just 11 (40.7%) of Euston’s 27 FEI fixtures, and the only time horses ridden by Sheikh Mohammed himself were sampled there was the 2012 world championship – compulsory testing because it was a FEI medal ride and he won it...

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