CAEN, France — France could lose its team eventing qualifying spot for the 2016 Olympics after one of its horses failed a doping test at the World Equestrian Games.
Qalao des Mers, ridden by Maxime Livio of France, tested positive for a sedative in eventing on Aug. 29, the International Equestrian Federation said Friday. In another case, Tra Flama, ridden by Giliese de Villiers of South Africa, tested positive for an anti-inflammatory in endurance on Aug. 28.
“We carried out an intensive awareness campaign prior to the games and also offered pre-arrival testing to all participants,” FEI secretary general Ingmar De Vos said in a statement. “So it is very disappointing that we have two positives for controlled medication substances at the games, especially when it is well known and well accepted that both these substances are not permitted in competition. Although these are controlled medication, not doping substances, we take this very seriously.”
France qualified for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by finishing fourth in team eventing. But the positive test of Qalao des Mers could disqualify France.
“I would never have taken such a risk for France or for my career,” Livio said in a statement. “For now I can only think of a malevolent act since I haven’t given any doping substance to my horse.”
Hearing dates have yet to be set.
Jacques Ferrari gave the hosts their first gold medal at the games by winning the men’s vaulting ahead of compatriot Nicolas Andreani and Erik Oese of Germany.
“It was a lot of stress,” Ferrari said. “At one point, I let my emotions overwhelm me and they guided me. I did my freestyle without remembering much of it.”
Joanne Eccles of Britain retained her world title in women’s vaulting by finishing ahead of Anna Cavallaro of Italy and Simone Jaiser of Switzerland.
“I was absolutely over the moon,” Eccles said. “You can hear the scores coming in when you’re outside, and they were all really good. We had a really good feeling and the horse was great.”
In the team vaulting competition, Germany beat Switzerland for the gold medal. France completed the podium.
Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha gave Austria its first gold medal at the games by winning the pas de deux.
Lindner and Wacha, the 2013 European champions, dominated the freestyle test for the second straight day and were the only pair with a total above nine points.
German vaulters Pia Engelberty and Torben Jacobs took the silver medal, recovering from a disappointing fifth place in Thursday’s freestyle. Joanne and Hannah Eccles of Britain were third.
Top-ranked Chester Weber of the United States took the lead in driving after the dressage test, followed by world champion Boyd Exell of Australia and Theo Timmerman of the Netherlands.
The driving competition continues on Saturday with the marathon and finishes on Sunday with the obstacles.
Britain tops the medals table so far with seven gold medals, and 15 overall, followed by Germany, the Netherlands, the United States and Belgium.
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