australia

Kermond’s cocaine disqualification a blow to teammates’ medal hopes

The knock-on effect of the disqualification of Australian rider Jamie Kermond from the Tokyo Olympic team for a doping violation has serious consequences for the other members of the showjumping team, Katie Laurie and Edwina Tops-Alexander.

Kermond’s disqualification and the failure of traveling reserve rider Rowan Willis to quarantine his horse in time means initially that Australia will not be able to enter a team in the show jumping event and will lose individual places as a result.

A suggested alternative – Willis rides Kermond’s horse, Napa – is impossible because International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules require that horse and rider be qualified as a combination. Willis did not organize his horse to quarantine in Germany with the others on the Australian team.

The lack of competition for the show jumping team is in itself a disappointment, as it finished sixth at the most recent world championships, its best result to date.

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This is added to the frustration of the two female riders who have likely refused individual competition, with Tops-Alexander a shot at a personal medal.

Both male riders have abandoned their female team members. While Willis has said the arduous journey from his US base was the reason for turning down the traveling reserve seat, others have accused him of irritability at missing selection on the starting team.

An FEI representative is meeting with IOC officials in Tokyo to clarify the matter, possibly seeking a reprieve for the two female riders.

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