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Canadian Dressage Olympic Appeal and FEI Judge Investigation Makes National News

Editorial

The appeal lodged by current Canadian Olympic Dressage Team reserve athlete Karen Pavicic has made national mainstream news today. 

CBC.ca is  reporting on the story of the "malicious" and "unethical behaviour" of a Canadian international dressage official whose judging in the Grand Prix at the last North American Olympic qualifier held in Cedar Valley, Ontario in June is being investigated by the FEI. 

Prior to that competition, Pavicic & Don Daiquiri were in second position in the Canadian Olympic dressage leaderboard. Following the outcome of the Cedar Valley CDI3*, they moved into third (reserve athlete) position due to the score given by one of the Canadian international dressage judges to third-seed Megan Lane and Caravella.  This score moved Lane into the second slot and she was subsequently named as one of the two Dressage athletes going to Rio (along with first-ranked athlete Belinda Trussell aboard Anton). 

Read full CBC Article

As we earlier reported , Pavicic first approached Equestrian Canada (EC), who initially refused her request for an appeal.  EC then agreed to have the appeal heard by the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC ), the same body who heard (and ruled in favour of) Canadian Eventer Jessica Phoenix's Olympic selection appeal just the previous week.

The Dressage appeal was arbitrated by Dick Pound,  former president of the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). In his final decision, Pound found that he was unable to overturn the competition results if the FEI was unwilling to do so. Regarding the allegations against the international judge in question, he stated they are "...very  serious  and  clearly  call  for  further investigation  on  the  part  of  the  FEI.    The  FEI has  been  supplied  with  the  allegations  and  has commenced its own inquiry regarding the conduct of the impugned judge."

Read Full Appeal Decision

FEI Investigation Ongoing

When reached for comment, the FEI stated:

"This matter was put on the agenda in order for FEI headquarters to provide the FEI Dressage Committee with an update on the current situation in relation to this matter.

As communicated to Equestrian Canada, and the athlete Karen Pavicic, the FEI Dressage Committee decided on 15 July 2016, based on the available evidence and judging analysis, that the results of the CDI3* Cedar Valley will stand.

The Committee also tasked FEI headquarters to follow up on this matter in a fair and thorough manner, looking into any remaining allegations.

This follow up is currently ongoing, with due process being followed. "

Integrity of the Sport at Stake

Although the next appeal option for Pavicic is the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), it seems unlikely that option will be exhausted given the associated costs. "I'm more interested in the bigger picture … the integrity of our sport." - Pavicic told CBC.ca  

Pavicic remains on standby in New York, as the non-travelling reserve athlete with her horse Don Daiquiri, in the event she is needed prior to the departure of the two Dressage athletes named to the team: Belinda Trussell (with Anton) and Megan Lane (with Caravella). Trussell and Lane are due to fly out to Rio on August 6th, with the Olympic Grand Prix competition scheduled for August 10th. 

This will be Lane's Olympic debut, after having represented Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games where they earned Team Silver. For Trussell, this will be her second time as an Olympian having made her first Olympic appearance at the 2004 Athens Games partnered with Royan.  Trussell and Anton were also part of the 2015 Pan Am Silver Medal dressage team.

When reached for comment, Pavicic said "For us as athletes, there is no greater privilege than to be selected for our country’s national team. Belinda, Megan and I were teammates at the 2014 World Equestrian Games and I am very honoured to stand together with them once more, and cheer them on with the rest of Canada as they head to Rio."

 


 

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