Canada's Nicole Walker rides Falco van Spieveld, during the Grand Prix event of the National at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Saturday, June 8, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Court of Arbitration for Sport to hear Canadian Nicole Walker’s doping appeal

The reinstatement of Canada’s show jumping team in the Tokyo Summer Olympics rides on upcoming appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Nicole Walker and Equestrian Canada are battling her doping violation at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Her appeal is before the Swiss-based CAS on Monday and Wednesday. Walker argues she inadvertently ingested a cocaine metabolite by drinking coca tea in Lima.

She had a hearing Dec. 4, 2019, with the Panam Sports disciplinary commission, which disqualified her scores in the individual and team events in Lima.

Walker was stripped of fourth place in the individual event. Erasing her scores in the team event dropped Canada from fourth to seventh.

Canada had to finish in the top four to be among the 20 countries competing for Olympic team gold in Tokyo. The COVID-19 pandemic postponed Tokyo’s Summer Games from 2020 to 2021.

The Pan Am Games were Canada’s last chance to qualify for Tokyo. Argentina moved up from fifth to claim the last Olympic berth.

Walker’s lawyer Tim Danson did not respond to an email from The Canadian Press.

Walker said last year in a statement she has never used illicit drugs.

“The team deserves to go to the Olympics,” Walker said then.

Walker is the 27-year-old daughter of Belinda Stronach, who is president and chairman of The Stronach Group and a former member of Parliament from 2004 to 2008.

Walker tested positive for benzoylecgonine in a sample taken the day of the team final Aug. 7 in Lima.

The coca plant contains alkaloids that can be chemically extracted to concoct cocaine.

While coca and coca leaves are illegal in Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, coca tea is legal and consumed in several South American countries.

Coca tea is considered an altitude sickness remedy in Peru.

If Walker is unsuccessful in her appeal to CAS, Canada can send only one rider to Tokyo to compete in the individual event.

The Canadian team of Yann Candele, Tiffany Foster, Eric Lamaze and Amy Millar lost a jump-off for the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Lamaze, Ian Millar, Jill Henselwood and Mac Cone won a silver medal in 2008 in Beijing.