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Canada’s Nicole Walker provisionally suspended by the FEI

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Photo © Erin Gilmore Photography Nicole Walker has been provisionally suspended by the FEI. Photo © Erin Gilmore Photography.

Canada’s Nicole Walker has been provisionally suspended by the FEI after testing positive for a prohibited substance at the Pan-American Games in Lima (PER) in August this year. Walker was a member of the Canadian team that secured Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020, when placing fourth in the team final of the Pan-American Games. 

The FEI has today issued a press release that reads as follows: 

“A sample taken from athlete Nicole Walker, who was a member of the fourth-placed Canadian team and also finished fourth with Falco Van Spieveld in the individual final, has tested positive for Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, which is a prohibited substance under the FEI’s Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA). The sample was taken on 7 August, the day of the team final in Lima.

The athlete has the option to request a preliminary hearing before the FEI Tribunal to apply for the lifting of the Provisional Suspension.

Disqualification of the athlete is a separate proceedings that is part of the results management process dealt with by Panam Sports, the organiser of the Pan-American Games. The athlete has exercised her right to request a hearing before the Panam Sports Disciplinary Commission.

Once the Disciplinary Commission has made a decision on the disqualification of the athlete, and team Canada’s final placing, the FEI will be in a position to make any necessary reallocation of the Olympic quota place.

Details on this case can be found here.

In order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing legal process, the FEI will not comment further on this case at this time.”

In a press release, that can be read via this link, Walker comments on the case: “I was shocked and devastated to hear about these results. I do not use illicit drugs, ever. Whether in Peru, or in any competition setting for that matter, I am always fully aware of the possibility of being tested and would never expose myself to any substance that could test positive. My Canadian teammates, my team in the barn, our horses and I, have all put a lifetime of effort towards an Olympic goal and I would never do anything to jeopardise that for my teammates or for myself. I’m extremely grateful to everyone for their support and to my teammates for standing with me.”

In a response to the FEI statement, Equestrian Canada comments on the case: “EC is firmly committed to clean sport. We also believe in standing behind our athletes, and fully support Nicole during this challenging situation. EC will be working closely with Nicole and her legal team as appropriate next steps are determined.

In order to maintain the integrity of the ongoing legal process, EC will not comment further on this case.”

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