Jamie Kermond’s doping breach spells disaster for his fellow equestrians’ medal hopes

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The harmful impact of Australian jockey Jamie Kermond’s exclusion from the Tokyo Olympic team for a doping violation has dire consequences for the other members of the showjumping team, Katie Laurie and Edwina Tubbs Alexander.

Kermond’s elimination and the failure of roving jockey, Rowan Willis, to quarantine his horse on time initially meant Australia could not enter a team in the showjumping event and thus lose individual places.

A proposed alternative – Willis riding Kermond’s horse, Nappa – is impossible because FEI rules require the horse and rider to qualify as a group. Willis did not organize his horse for quarantine in Germany with the others on the Australian team.

The absence of the showjumping team is in itself a disappointment, considering that they finished sixth in the most recent World Championships, their best result to date.

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Complicating matters further, the two jockeys’ frustration is likely to deny the individual competition, with Tops Alexander earning a chance to win a personal medal.

Both male knights had let down their female team members. While Willis has said the arduous travel from his US base was the reason he turned down the spare travel opportunity, others accuse him of reluctance to not be selected on the core team.

An FEI representative is meeting with IOC officials in Tokyo to seek some clarification on the matter, and may seek a reprieve for the two female riders.

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