Germany's Ahlmann to be told to refund costs

BEIJING Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:19am EDT

1 of 2. Christian Ahlmann of Germany takes a jump, riding Coster, during the equestrian jumping individual first qualifier at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong in this file photo taken August 15, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Caren Firouz

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Germany will send a bill to show jumper Christian Ahlmann for his travel and accommodation costs at the Games after his horse failed a dope test, International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president Thomas Bach told Reuters.

Bach, head of Germany's National Olympic Committee, said on Saturday Ahlmann would be the first German asked to refund the costs of his participation due to a failed doping test.

"This is a new element of our anti-doping campaign and I'm optimistic that it will have a deterrent effect," Bach said in an interview with Reuters.

"We required every athlete on the Olympic team to sign an agreement obliging them to reimburse all their travel and accommodations costs if they are have a positive doping test."

Bach said the total bill for Ahlmann had yet to be calculated, but added: "It's not going to be cheap."

Ahlmann, who will have to pay all the transport and stall costs for his horse as well, was one of four show jumpers suspended after their horses tested positive for capsaicin.

Capsaicin, an active ingredient in chilli peppers, is sometimes applied as a paste or lotion to a horse's forelegs so that they try harder to lift their smarting shins over fences.

Ahlmann was also suspended from the German Olympic team pending the results of the B-sample, due within the next four days, and will be ejected if it is positive.

Bach, who is also head of the IOC's disciplinary commission, had vowed that the Beijing Olympics would have more doping controls than ever before.

Bach, who won a fencing gold medal for West Germany, said he did not know of any countries with similar financial deterrents to doping but added he hoped others would follow.

"We believe it is a useful tool against doping and would warmly welcome other countries adopting this or other measures that contribute to the anti-doping battle," he said.

Michael Vesper, Germany's chef de mission, said he was stunned that Ahlmann had apparently ignored the warnings about doping.

"He is going to have to pay for all his costs and he will be thrown off the team if the results are confirmed," Vesper told Reuters.

"We are not going to finance a trip to China for cheats. We cannot pay for anyone who breaks the rules."

(Editing by Keith Weir)

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