Lynch protests his innocence


Olympics - Equestrian:  Irish rider Denis Lynch has protested his innocence as his hopes of winning an Olympic medal in Hong Kong were ended today 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 (FEI) earlier today when Lantinus tested positive for capsaicin - a class A medication prohibited due to his pain relieving properties. Three other horses from Germany, Brazil and Norway also tested positive for the substance.

However Lynch, along with Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) chief executive Damien McDonald and team veterinarian Marcus Swail, called a press conference during the final in Hong Kong tonight to explain why the test had returned positive.

They stated that Lynch used a DeepHeat-like cream called Equiblock - that contains capsiacin 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 during warm-up.

"Denis has worked hard to get here and 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 tonight given that he has been tested before without any problems."

Lynch described himself as shattered 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. "I can't really say anymore.

"We came here (to the press conference) as we have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong."

"I having been using this (Equiblock) for years and there has never been a problem. If I thought there was the slightest problem, there is no way I would have used it."

"I have spent 15 of my life working up to this day, in a few seconds it has been shattered," added Lynch. 

"I am here representing my country with a very good chance, maybe not to win a gold medal, but a good chance. Now within seconds it's all over." 

Ireland's Cian O'Connor was stripped of his Olympic individual gold at the 2004 Games in Athens after his horse Waterford Crystal tested positive for a banned sedative.