NEWS
08/30/2011 01:28 EDT | Updated 10/30/2011 05:12 EDT

Canadian rider Jonathon Millar suspended while drug test investigated

OTTAWA - Jonathon Millar, son of veteran Canadian rider Ian Millar, has been provisionally suspended from equestrian competition while his sample from a drug test is investigated by the sport's governing body.

The Millar family issued a statement Tuesday through their lawyer stating that Jonathon suffers from a serious medical condition that would cause a drug test to be abnormal.

According to the statement, Millar has a metabolic deficiency and can't produce an essential hormone which bodies naturally generate.

"This has absolutely nothing to do with performance enhancement, cheating or illegal substances, but rather is directly related to Jonathon’s illness and metabolic deficiency," said the statement.

The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) is investigating the sample, which was taken during competition. Millar will have a hearing with the FEI at a date yet to be announced, according to Equine Canada.

"Jonathon is one of the gentlemen of our sport, and he has been co-operating fully with us," Equine Canada chief executive officer Akaash Maharaj said in a statement.

"Our first responsibility is to protect the integrity of the sport system, by upholding both the WADA code and the athlete’s right to a fair and impartial hearing. Accordingly, we are working closely with Jonathon and with the FEI to ensure that all the facts are made available during the hearings, to bring this matter to a just conclusion without delay."

The Millar family name is synonymous with elite show jumping in Canada. Ian Millar, a nine-time Olympian, helped Canada win a team silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Jonathon Millar is ranked among Canada's top 10 riders. Along with his father and sister Amy, the 36-year-old from Perth, Ont., is among the pool of riders under consideration for Canada's Pan American Games team.

The four-rider team for the Oct. 25-29 competition in Guadalajara, Mexico, will be announced Sept. 14.

Ian and Jonathon were teammates and helped Canada finish second in a Nations Cup event in Wellington, Fla., in March.

The Millar family said they await documentation "to assist us in understanding the current problem."

"We have been giving Jonathon all the support and encouragement that you would expect from a close family such as ours, to give him the strength and hope to overcome this illness," they said in the statement issued by Toronto lawyer Tim Danson.

"We are extremely proud of how Jonathon has looked adversity in the eye and worked tirelessly to overcome this adversity rather than surrender to it."