Ireland will be able to field an eventing team at the 2012 Olympics this summer in London after qualifying for three places through the rider rankings.
Camilla Speirs, Mark Kyle and Michael Ryan’s results at the “last-chance event” at Ballindenisk – one of three horse trials running last weekend to give riders an opportunity to win points before the 1 March deadline – secured Ireland’s spaces. Their places were confirmed today by horsesport’s international governing body, the FEI.
The spots are for the nation, not the individual rider, so can actually be given to any individually qualified rider.
In addition Ireland holds first and third position on the reserve rankings – courtesy of Jayne Doherty and Geoff Curran – so has a strong chance of getting a fourth and perhaps a fifth rider into the Games.
If other nations cannot take up their places, their allocation goes to the reserves – for example, Argentina qualified a team for the Olympics at the two-star Pan American Games, but does not yet have a single rider individually qualified for this four-star championship (17 June is the deadline for individual qualification).
Olympic eventing teams consist of three to five riders, with three scores to count – so with only three riders, Ireland would have no score to discard.
Australia (five riders) and the Netherlands (three riders) are the other nations to have qualified an eventing team through the rider rankings.
In showjumping, it has been confirmed that Ireland has two Olympic places for individuals after Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey finished first and second in the rankings.
And in dressage, Britain will be able to field a fourth rider as an individual – alongside our team of three – thanks to the efforts of Richard Davison, who has been hunting down rankings points with Hiscox Artemis.
Ireland is also second on the dressage reserve list through Italian-based Anna Merveldt and Coryolano.
In all, 41 nations have qualified riders for the 2012 Olympic Games. Seven countries – Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA – will field full teams in all three disciplines.