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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Equestrian: Werth accepts suspension after horse fails test


Associated Press

BERLIN Five-time Olympic dressage gold medalist Isabell Werth accepted the suspension over her horse's failed doping test at a hearing Thursday and opted not to seek testing of the B sample.

The International Equestrian Federation, or FEI, provisionally suspended the 39-year-old Werth this week following news that her horse, Whisper, tested positive for the sedative fluphenazine at a tournament on May 30.

At a preliminary hearing Thursday by the FEI, Werth's representatives accepted the upholding of the suspension, the German and international federations said.

"Consequently, Mrs. Werth's provisional suspension remains in effect," the FEI said in a statement. "The parties agreed to hold a final hearing on this matter within the next several weeks."

She won team Olympic gold medals in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2008, and an individual gold in 1996. She also has three Olympic silver medals.

Werth said Wednesday that Whisper suffers from a nervous disorder known as shivering syndrome. She said she and her vet gave him a single treatment of a medicine that contains fluphenazine on May 16 to see how he would respond.

Werth said she was informed that it likely would take six days for the substance to work its way out of the horse's system, but traces were still found in the test two weeks later. Werth said she deeply regretted the incident "but was convinced that I had acted correctly."

The case follows other troubles for German equestrian.

Last month, the German federation disbanded its Olympic team and suspended four-time Olympic champion Ludger Beerbaum following a string of allegations involving doping and illegal medication.