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Qatari sheikh's cannabis case risks Olympic equestrian place

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A Qatari sheikh is among two equestrian riders who failed doping tests at an Olympic qualifier, risking the national team’s place in the Tokyo Games jumping lineup. Sheikh Ali al-Thani and Bassem Mohammed tested positive for cannabis metabolites at an Olympic qualifying event in Morocco in October, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said Thursday.

Al Thani was Qatar’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The sheikh and his horse First Division placed sixth in a final jump-off round for individual jumping gold. Both riders competed in team jumping at Rio.

The FEI said cannabis is a prohibited substance under its anti-doping rules for riders, though neither is provisionally suspended during their disciplinary cases. Cannabis is classed as a substance “more likely to have been consumed by an athlete for a purpose other than the enhancement of sport performance,” the governing body said. "Positive cases involving ‘specified substances’ can be handled with a greater degree of flexibility within the structure of the FEI Regulations.”

No timetable was given by the FEI to give disciplinary rulings. Any verdict could be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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