Last minute changes as Olympic countdown continues

  • Twomey’s misfortune mars Irish show jumping selections

    The Irish show jumping team was announced shortly after the final Nations Cup in Aachen. One surprise omission is Billy Twomey (pictured) and the stallion Luidam, who has recently undergone a hobday operation.

    The combination have long been considered a serious Olympic prospect, and the Nations Cup in Aachen this weekend was to have been their first serious outing this season under the selectors’ eyes.

    However, misfortune struck early on in Aachen. The pair competed in an early class, but Luidam appeared unsound, and as a consequence, was withdrawn from the Nations Cup competition

    A spokesman for the Equestrian Federation of Ireland explained: “Since he couldn’t jump in the Nations Cup competition, the selectors had no chance to assess the horse.

    “They know Luidam’s a big horse, and they know that Billy is a big rider, but the decision has been made, and although the pair could jump at Hickstead, very little, it seems, could change the position.”

    Irish Olympic show jumpers:

    Kevin Babington (Carling King)
    Marion Hughes (Heritage Fortunus)
    Jessica Kurten (Quibell and Castle Forbes Maike)
    Cian O’Connor (Waterford Crystal)

    Drugs put Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum out of Olympic picture

    Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum had been looking forward to the prospect of gruelling competition in Athens, following some spectacular performances this season, including a double clear in the third leg of the Nations Cup series, and coming close to the title of World Champion, which was snatched from under her nose by Frenchman Bruno Broucqsault in Milan.

    And it was there that her Olympic hopes were dashed, because her top ride, Shutterfly, failed a routine drugs test. Two samples proved to have a banned tranquiliser, hydroxy-promazine.

    Although there is as yet no explanation of how the drug came to be in the horse’s system, and other leading German riders have come out in support of Michaels-Beerbaum, the German Olympic Equestrian Committee took the decision that it was in the best interests of the national team that Germany’s leading female rider should not be considered for Olympic participation.

    German Olympic show jumpers:
    Christian Ahlmann (Cöster)
    Otto Becker (Dobel´s Cento)
    Ludger Beerbaum (Goldfever)
    Marcus Ehning (For Pleasure)
    Reserve: Marco Kutscher (Montender)

    Dutch Dressage selection up in the air

    The selection of the Dutch dressage team was still unconfirmed today, as controversy surrounded the fourth horse and rider.

    Initially, Antoinette Falandt and Jarwo were due to fill the spot, but following their withdrawal from the CDIO Aachen this weekend because of a recurring injury to the horse, the Dutch team vet concluded that the horse will not be in shape to compete at the Olympics.

    Meanwhile, Falandt’s own vet insists that the horse will be back to full health in time for the Olympics. The row is not over yet, although the team is due to be announced officially this evening, with Marlies van Baalen and Idocus now expected to take the fourth spot.

    Aussie rider bows out

    Kirsty Oatley-Nist, Australia’s leading dressage rider, had been due to take the single Australian ticket to Athens to compete in the individual dressage competition.

    However, the rider expressed her concerns about the fitness of Quando-Quando after a disappointing result at Aachen this weekend, suggesting that a “gruelling season” had taken its toll on the nine-year-old stallion.

    “Because I had to go to all these (international competitions) to get the qualifying marks, he’s burnt out, basically,” said the rider.

    She was disappointed, but maintained that it was the right decision as far as the horse was concerned, commenting that by the time the Beijing Olympics come round, the horse will have a further four years of experience.

    She is replaced by the reserve, Mary Hanna and Limbo, who represented Australia in Atlanta and Sydney.

    American and German teams announced.

    America and Germany have announced their dressage teams:

    Debbie McDonald (Brentina)
    Robert Dover (FBW Kennedy)
    Guenter Seidel (Aragon)
    Lisa Wilcox (Relevant)
    Reserve: Steffen Peters (Floriano)

    Hubertus Schmidt (Wansuela Suerte)
    Ulla Salzgeber (Rusty)
    Heike Kemmer (Bonaparte)
    Martin Schaudt (Weltall)
    Reserve: Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff (Wahajama)

    American eventing team selected

    Following their final Olympic selection trial last week, the United States Equestrian Federation has announced the five eventers who have booked their tickets to Athens.

    World No. 2, Kim Severson heads the field with Winsome Adante. She is joined by Darren Chiaccia with Windfall 2, Julie Richards with Jacob Two Two, Amy Tryon with My Beau and John Williams with Carrick.

    A further five combinations have headed to England this weekend with the team as reserves because of the risk of injury to horse and rider that is that nature of the sport. The reserves are: Will Faudree with Antigua, David O’Connor with Outlawed, Jan Thompson with Task Force, Amy Tryon with Poggio II amd Heidi White with Northern Spy.

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