Ireland has failed in its mission to secure a place at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games for its showjumping team, after an appeal was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Rider Cian O’Connor and Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) appeared at CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month (16 December), appealing against a decision made at the 2015 European Championships.
At Aachen last summer Cian was riding Good Luck when a member of the arena party dashed across his path and jumped into a flower bed around which Cian was turning round before tackling an oxer.
Cian says the distraction caused Good Luck to fault. Ireland lost out on a Rio place to Spain by just 0.38 faults. On the day, HSI’s protest and appeal were dismissed.
Cian and HSI allege the incident cost Ireland’s showjumping team its Olympic place.
The ground jury, presided over by Britain’s Jon Doney, said Cian could have stopped and signalled to the judges, but continued.
However, today (Monday 4 January) it was revealed that this decision has been upheld by CAS.
“I have no regrets,” said Cian.
“I tried everything possible and left no stone unturned in trying to seek fairness for what I feel was an unsporting decision made by the ground jury in Aachen.
“It’s time to move on and refocus on the sport.
“Team Ireland are first reserve because of the good performance at World Equestrian Games in 2014 so there is always a chance that we will get there yet.”
HSI’s Damian McDonald added: “We felt that we had made a strong case and we are very disappointed with the outcome. We will await the full reasoned judgement before making any further comment.”
The CAS ruling means that the results from Aachen remain unchanged, with Ireland finishing seventh overall.
FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez added: “I am happy that the CAS has confirmed the decision of the FEI Appeal Committee.
“This was a field of play issue that was covered by FEI rules, so the CAS ruling upholding the decision made at the time is an important one for the FEI.”