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Hansen faces doping hearing to keep Olympic medals

Nov. 06, 2008, 8:44 a.m. (ET)

GENEVA(AP) Tony Andre Hansen will fight to keep the Norwegian jumping team's Olympic bronze medals Saturday when he answers charges that his horse was doped.

Hansen faces an International Equestrian Federation (FEI) tribunal for the second time to examine why his horse Camiro tested positive for a banned pain reliever after the team jumping competition in August. He was suspended and did not compete in the individual jumping class.

The FEI panel must decide whether to disqualify Hansen and Camiro from the Beijing games.

“I don't dare predict the result,” Hansen said in Norway's Sandefjords Blad newspaper Thursday.

The 29-year-old Hansen was the best performer in a four-rider Norwegian team which won bronze under a scoring system where the top three count.

Without his scores, his Norway teammates - Morten Djupvik, Stein Endresen, and Geir Gulliksen - would drop out of contention, and the fourth-place Switzerland team would get the bronze medals.

The United States won gold, beating Canada in a jumpoff in Hong Kong, where all the Olympic equestrian events were staged.

Hansen's horse tested positive for capsaicin, a banned medication derived from chili peppers. It can be classed as a doping substance if used to inflame a horse's legs which encourages it to jump higher to avoid striking an obstacle.

He faced a six-hour hearing in September and has a second chance to present his defense to the FEI in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“I have two foreign experts with me, who can hopefully get me acquitted,” Hansen said. “This time, I just hope the evidence is good enough.

“The only problem is that we don't know where the substance came from. We still think it could be from pollution. But how Camiro got that pollution in him is impossible to say.”

It is the sixth and final drug case from the Olympic equestrian events to be decided.

Three riders were disqualified and suspended in cases involving capsaicin: Germany's Christian Ahlmann was banned for four months, Brazil's Bernardo Alves for 3 1/2 months, and Irish rider Denis Lynch got a three-month ban.

Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa, the individual jumping gold medalist in 2004, was disqualified and banned for 4 1/2 months after his horse tested positive for nonivamide, a banned pain-relieving medication.

Courtney King of the United States was disqualified and banned one month because her horse Mythilus tested positive for felbinac, a banned anti-inflammatory medication.


Associated Press writer Doug Mellgren in Oslo, Norway, contributed to this report.