Lynch protests innocence after positive test

Ireland's Denis Lynch has protested his innocence as his hopes of winning a medal were ended last night after being forced to withdraw from the individual showjumping final when his horse Lantinus tested positive for a banned substance.

The 32-year-old was provisionally suspended by the International Equestrian Federation yesterday when Lantinus tested positive for capsaicin – a class A medication prohibited due to its pain relieving properties. Three other horses from Germany, Brazil and Norway also tested positive for the substance.

Lynch, along with Horse Sport Ireland chief executive Damien McDonald and team veterinarian Marcus Swail, called a press conference during the final in Hong Kong last night to explain why the test had returned positive. They stated that Lynch used a Deep Heat-like cream called Equiblock – that contains capsaicin as an ingredient – on his horse and had been using it as part of their preparations for some time.

"Once we were informed of the positive finding our first reaction was to work out how it had come about," said Swail. "We established it was contained in a product called Equiblock which Denis uses commonly. His preparations have been no different to anything he has done in any previous competitions. It seems to be an extremely severe punishment that he is not allowed to jump given that he has been tested before without any problems."

Lynch was devastated after being denied the opportunity to compete for an Olympic medal. The Tipperary-born rider had been in fine form during qualifying, picking up just two penalty points in the first two rounds and six in his third outing to qualify for the final. "I'm shattered," said Lynch. "We came here [to the press conference] as we have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong."

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