The FEI Tribunal has issued a further warning about the risks in taking supplements after a Czech show jumping team rider’s doping positive was traced to a mislabelled weight loss aid.
Jumper Emma Augier de Moussac tested positive to the prohibited, specified substance Hydrochlorothiazide – a diuretic – at the eastern European Olympic qualifying event in Hungary last June.
The manufacturer of her dieting supplement, New Green Gold, did not list Hydrochlorothiazide among the ingredients, and only admitted it was included after the rider raised questions.. But while her discoveries enabled her suspension to be reduced from the standard two year tariff to 12 months, the FEI said “an athlete taking supplements is manifestly disregarding [the] risk”.
Augier de Moussac said she had tried to lose weight for some time and was looking for a weight loss product for beauty-oriented objectives only. She had even considered surgery.
Her brother in law had used New Green Gold after seeing it on Instagram, and recommended it. It was sold over the counter in Brazil, where he had a home, so he bought some for her for 250 Brazilian Reals (CAN$64.) The packaging said it contained Linhaça, Abacaxi, Alcachofra, Chia, Limão, Maracujá, Gengibre, Psyllium, Macaperuana, Marmelinho, Garcínia, Colagéno e Caralluma.
An analysis later commissioned by the rider showed the product contained not only Hydrochlorothiazide but Furosemide and Sibutramine, which are also prohibited by WADA. Moreover, the product contained pharmaceuticals Ranitidine, Bupropion, Fluoxetine and Diazepam which meant it was not “ 100% all natural” as marketed.
Augier de Moussac had properly disclosed she was taking New Green Gold at the event. She argued there was no intent to cheat, only her wish to lose weight, and she was therefore acting in good faith when using it, which the FEI accepted.
However, the FEI noted she had carried out no detailed checks or consulted her personal doctor, national federation and/or national doping agency. The FEI said: “It can be expected from a top level athlete who is aiming for the Olympic Games, to be aware of the risk of supplements and to take such measures to assure that the Product is clean before using it in competition and especially at an Olympic Qualifier. Despite the fact that the Athlete did not have the intent to cheat or enhance her performance and has been very cooperative, the FEI concludes that the Athlete could have taken further steps in order to avoid the anti-doping rule violation.”
The offence was resolved by a negotiated settlement, ratified by Tribunal. The suspension was backdated to the date of the positive sample and so ended on 27 June 2020. The rider was also fined 2,000 Swiss francs.
[Editor’s note: Augier de Moussac’s suspension and subsequent disqualification from the Tokyo qualifier does not affect the Czech Republic’s Olympic place, because she returned the team’s drop score.]