Irish showjumpers in Rio heartache
Published 04/09/2014 | 18:51
Ireland's showjumpers have joined Great Britain in failing to secure Rio 2016 Olympics team qualification at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Caen.
Both countries must now wait until next summer's European Championships in Germany for another opportunity.
The British team did not secure a place in Thursday's 10-team final at Stade D'Ornano and although Ireland went close to claiming a qualifying slot, they ended up seventh.
A Dutch quartet of Jeroen Dubbeldam, Maikel van der Vleuten, Jur Vrieling and Gerco Schroder took world gold, with France finishing second and America third.
There was some consolation for Ireland, with three of their team - Denis Lynch, 19-year-old Bertram Allen and Darragh Kenny - qualifying among the leading 30 riders for Saturday's penultimate individual competition.
America's Beezie Madden, winner of the Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead earlier this summer, leads the individual race for gold, closely followed by Sweden's Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Dane Soren Pedersen.
Britain's top showjumper Scott Brash, meanwhile, withdrew from the World Games on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Scotsman was lying 36th in the individual competition after Wednesday's action.
A statement issued by Team GBR said the decision had been taken in consultation with the rider and owners of Brash's horse Hello Sanctos, Lord and Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham.
The British team of world number one Brash, Michael Whitaker, Joe Clee and Spencer Roe finished 18th, and only Brash did enough to progress as an individual contender.
"Scott Brash will unfortunately not be going forward to contest the individual round of the showjumping competition at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games," Team GBR said.
" The decision has been taken in consultation with the rider, Hello Sanctos's owners, Lord and Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, the Great Britain chef d'equipe (Rob Hoekstra) and chef de mission (Will Connell).
"There is a lot of jumping still to do in the individual qualifying competition; a lot of ground to make up on the leaderboard, and the likelihood of qualifying for the Individual final with the standard of jumping here this week is not likely.
"With the horse in mind and looking ahead to the forthcoming Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in Barcelona, next year's European Championships and beyond, the decision has been made to withdraw the horse from further competition this week."