LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — In the latest sports law case linked to cocaine consumed in South American tea, Canada’s equestrian team tried to regain its place in the Tokyo Olympics jumping lineup on Wednesday.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport was hearing the second part of appeals by Nicole Walker and Equestrian Canada against her disqualification from the 2019 Pan American Games.
Walker tested positive for metabolites of cocaine she believes came from drinking coca tea in Lima, Peru.
Without her scores at the PanAms, Canada slipped out of the final Olympic qualification place in team jumping, which went to Argentina.
The case has echoes of a landmark ruling in soccer ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Peru captain Paolo Guerrero was cleared to play at the tournament by an interim ruling from Switzerland’s supreme court. He filed an appeal there after CAS extended his ban to 14 months for testing positive for cocaine metabolites he said came from contaminated tea in Argentina.
Guerrero, then aged 34, had never played at a World Cup. He was helped in persuading a federal judge by support from the captains of Peru’s future opponents at the tournament in Russia.
The same judge who reprieved Guerrero later sat on the panel which dismissed his full appeal. He served the full 14-month ban.
In Walker’s case, the appeals by video link began Monday and were scheduled to finish Wednesday. The split hearing helped connect parties and judges in different time zones, the court said.
CAS gave no timetable for its judges to deliver a verdict.
Walker has denied knowingly using cocaine. Coca leaves and tea are not illegal in Peru and other countries in South America.
The 27-year-old rider has slipped to No. 426 in the world rankings after being provisionally suspended. The International Equestrian Federation allowed her to return to competition in September.
Canada placed fourth in team jumping at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and took silver at Beijing in 2008.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports