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When asked, Covid shock follows: British Corona rider causes dressage displeasure

Covid shock follows on request
British Corona rider causes dressage displeasure

Only when asked at the press conference does it come out: The British dressage rider Gareth Hughes starts at the World Championships despite a corona infection. The competition is appalled. Technically, however, everything seems to have run correctly.

Even the day after the Corona shock, Isabell Werth was stunned and appalled. “It’s really unbelievable,” said the most successful rider in the world about British dressage rider Gareth Hughes’ concealed Covid disease. It was “incomprehensible” that the colleague ridden sick and then also appeared at the award ceremony: “There is no respect for the others.”

After more than two years of the pandemic, it is hard to believe that the competition and the world association FEI only found out about the infection at the press conference after the World Cup team competition. British team-mate Richard Davison made Hughes’ infection public on Sunday evening and said when asked after his team’s silver medal: “He has Covid.”

Dennis Peiler, sports director of the German Equestrian Federation FN, said the following morning: “We were blown away. We were completely surprised.” Werth reported on her teammate Frederic Wandres: “Freddi was really shocked, he congratulated him and hugged him.”

“That was gross foul play”

“We all stood close together,” said the nine-time world champion about the award ceremony on the podium, she didn’t hug Hughes herself. The 53-year-old from Rheinberg added: “I’ve already experienced a lot, but that’s really strange.”

The German delegation at the Dressage World Championships in Denmark will not protest despite the ride of the corona-infected Briton. “No, we won’t do that,” said team boss Klaus Roeser. “That’s not our style, it’s definitely sporty.” Were it not for the result of the infected Hughes, the Brits would not have finished second behind Denmark, but Germany, on Sunday night in Herning. Sweden would have won bronze.

Roeser criticized the British rider’s actions as a “human disappointment”. FN sports director Peiler commented: “That was a serious foul.” He said: “You don’t send an infected athlete into the competition. That has nothing to do with a sense of responsibility.”

Special case Denmark

The infection only came about because Hughes, who was ill, was absent from the press conference. A spokeswoman for the British team then said: “According to the applicable laws, he does not have to be in quarantine.” All rules were observed. “He kept his distance from everyone,” she claimed. The procedure had been agreed with the organizer.

The FEI only learned “during the press conference after the medal ceremony” that Gareth Hughes had tested positive for Covid,” said a spokeswoman. She added: “Denmark currently has no government Covid-19 restrictions and no requirements for Covid testing when entering the country.” The FEI had only “issued medical recommendations to the national federations and their athletes to reduce the risk of infection and protect the athletes”. This advice was obviously not enough.

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