Aachen Prepares for Drug-Free Competition, Dressage Without Isabell Werth

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The largest competition in showjumping and dressage in Germany, the World Equestrian Festival, begins in a few days in Aachen, Germany. The show has already geared up with perhaps the most tight anti-drug security of any show in the world. News of dressage star Isabell Werth's charges for violation of FEI rules has shocked the competition scene, but Aachen's latest news release says it is time for a new beginning. And their show will be the first step.

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Here are some excerpts from their news release, which was provided in English:

CHIO organisers: "No alternative to our stance"
The Isabell Werth case underlines the need for a new beginning

The organisers of the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen, see the positive doping result of Isabell Werth's horse Whisper, announced today, as confirmation for their stance in their rigorous anti-doping battle.

"The Isabell Werth case proves that there is no alternative to our viewpoint. The equestrian sport needs a new beginning," commented Michael Mronz, General Manager of the Aachener Reitturnier GmbH.

This new beginning is to be guaranteed by an independent Commission implemented by the German Olympic Sports Association, under the Chair of the former Constitutional Court Judge, Udo Steiner. "We supported the German Equestrian Federation from the very beginning in their decision to disband the German team and install this independent Commission. The current development shows that this is the right approach," said CHIO Show Director, Frank Kemperman.

"We welcome Isabell Werth's preliminary suspension by the FEI," continued Kemperman. Subject to the decision of the FEI tribunal, Isabell Werth will thus not be competing at the CHIO Aachen (June 26th - July 5th, 2009).

Independent of the Commission, the CHIO organisers already decided several weeks ago to intensively expand its anti-doping battle during the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen 2009. 42 stewards will be in action, statistically speaking, that is one steward for every eleventh horse. The staff members of the "Horse Watch Service" will be on duty at night to guarantee the round-the-clock monitoring of the horses.

The number of doping tests has been considerably increased, in this way every eighth horse in Aachen will be tested. All testing will be carried out by the independent doping inspectors of the MCP (Medication Control Programme). This guarantees the maximum quality and indefeasibility of the testing.

In addition, a thermographic camera will be put to use in Aachen, which can detect irregularities on the legs of the horses. "Should any suspicion arise that substances have been applied to the skin of a horse, the veterinarians can immediately carry out further on-site inspections," explained Frank Kemperman.