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Australia Aussie showjumpers get Olympic reprieve

07:19  23 july  2021
07:19  23 july  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

Australian banned from Olympics for drugs

  Australian banned from Olympics for drugs Australian equestrian rider Jamie Kermond has been suspended from the Tokyo Olympics after he tested positive for cocaine.The showjumper tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine in a test on June 26, Equestrian Australia says.

Australia's two showjumpers who risked losing an Olympics because of their teammate's drug-taking have been given the go-ahead to compete as individuals.

a statue of a person riding a horse: Showjumper Edwina Tops-Alexander is delighted she's been cleared to compete individually in Tokyo. © EPA PHOTO Showjumper Edwina Tops-Alexander is delighted she's been cleared to compete individually in Tokyo.

Edwina Tops-Alexander and Katie Laurie will now ride in Tokyo after uncertainty following the drugs controversy of showjumping teammate Jamie Kermond.

Kermond was kicked off the Australian Olympic team on Wednesday after testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine on June 26.

His ban ruled out Australia's three-person showjumping team also including Tops-Alexander and Laurie.

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But the pair have been permitted to compete as individuals after Australia pushed their case to the IOC.

"We are thrilled with the outcome," Australia's chef de mission Ian Chesterman said in a statement on Friday.

"Edwina and Katie have both worked extremely hard to earn their place on the Australian team and we are delighted they will get the opportunity."

Tops-Alexander, who had hit out at Kermond's selfish act on social media, will become the first Australian showjumper to ride at four Olympics.

"I'm very happy about the outcome for myself and Katie Laurie to be able compete as individuals," she said in a statement.

"I will absolutely give it my utmost best."

Laurie, to make her Olympic debut, described the saga as a "rollercoaster".

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Kermond, a three-time Australian equestrian champion, admitting using cocaine.

"It is likely that the positive result was from a single recreational use of the drug at a social event and had no connection with my sport of equestrian," Kermond said in a statement on Wednesday.

"I am extremely upset and remorseful as to what has happened and I accept full responsibility.

"I am truly sorry as I have let a lot of people down including my family and teammates.

"Hopefully one day I can be forgiven for my mistake (and make) amends through better actions and continued contribution to the sport I know and love."

The 36-year-old from Victoria was to have made his Olympic debut in Tokyo with his selection attracting scrutiny.

Kermond was ranked 1013th on world standings but has links to one of two national selectors, Stephen Lamb, who stepped aside when Kermond's selection was discussed.

Selectors overlooked Rowan Willis, Australia's top-ranked rider at 59 in the world, who declined to travel to Tokyo as an emergency rider.

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