On Jan. 12, the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed appeals lodged by Canadian show jumping athlete Nicole Walker and Equestrian Canada against the disqualification of the athlete following an anti-doping rule violation at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
A sample taken from Nicole Walker, who was a member of the fourth-placed Canadian team and also finished fourth with Falco Van Spieveld in the individual final, tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, which is a prohibited substance under the WADA Prohibited Substance List. The sample was taken on Aug. 7, the day of the team final in Lima.
In its decision on Dec. 11, 2019, the Panam Sports Disciplinary Commission disqualified Walker’s individual result obtained on Aug. 7 and 9, 2019, and her results from Aug. 6 and 7, 2019, were replaced with those of the fourth Canadian team member for the team final, meaning that Argentina earned a team quota place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The appeal to CAS was heard via videoconference on Dec. 21 and 23, 2020, with the FEI as one of a number of third parties. Both Walker and Equestrian Canada requested that the Panam Sports Disciplinary Commission decision be set aside and that the results she obtained in Lima be reinstated. A successful appeal would have meant Canada’s reinstatement to fourth place in the team competition and qualification for the Canadian jumping team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Today’s CAS ruling means that the results for Team Canada in the jumping competition at the 2019 Pan American Games are disqualified. As a result, Argentina’s jumping team quota place for the Tokyo Olympic Games is now confirmed.
The FEI had provisionally suspended Nicole Walker from Nov. 8, 2019-Sept. 26, 2020, when the provisional suspension was lifted in a preliminary decision by the FEI Tribunal following a request by the athlete. While the CAS decision on disqualification of the Canadian team results is final, the full merits of the case still need to be heard by the FEI Tribunal, which will decide on any further sanctions to be imposed on the athlete.