Crowned Team World Champion for the first time at the postponed FEI Endurance World Championship 2022 held in Butheeb (UAE) from February 20-26, 2023, Bahrain has been stripped of the team title following an equine anti-doping case involving a banned substance and the horse Hera Durances, ridden by Abdulrahman Mohammed Alzayed (the third Bahraini combination). The FEI Tribunal confirmed the disqualification of the athlete and horse combination from the event and imposed an eighteen-month ineligibility period for the athlete, who has also been fined (See FEI Tribunal Equine Anti-Doping Consent Award here).
As a result, Team Bahrain’s results are null and void as they no longer have the three required combination results to count for the team ranking and all the remaining teams on the leader board move up by one place, with France taking gold, Portugal slotting into silver and Italy stepping onto the podium with bronze (See updated results here).
Team France are no stranger to the top spot of the podium having had their share of Team golds in the past, although the most recent dates back to 2006. This places France well and truly at the top of the leader board for Team titles, with five to their name since the first edition was held in 1986, followed by UAE and Spain who both have three World Championship team titles in their record of achievements.
“While it is never optimal to have medals re-distributed following an event due to medication control and anti-doping related offenses, we view this as confirmation that the systems we have in place are thorough and effective,” said FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch.
“The FEI’s Clean Sport programme has extensive processes to ensure we not only educate the community, but also have the tools to follow up and uphold the Rules at play in order to guarantee a level playing field, and safeguard the welfare of our human and equine athletes.”
The FEI has extensive procedures in place to uphold and ensure the integrity of competition through the FEI Clean Sport Programme which encompasses both human and equine anti-doping rules and processes. For human athletes, the FEI is a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), whilst for horses, the FEI has developed and runs the Equine Anti-Doping and medication Control System (EADMCR), which sees extensive testing at FEI Events around the world.
Prior to all major Championships and Games, the FEI prepares and shares specific “Doping & Medication Control Guides” with the participants such as the nominated athletes, chefs d’equipes and concerned National Federations in order to raise awareness, explain the processes and avoid any inadvertent positive cases. The relevant Guide for Butheeb refers to extensive testing to be carried out, the testing process, reminding athletes they are the “Person Responsible” for their horse and will carry the ultimate responsibility, which includes legal proceedings should their horse test positive.