Sunday 11 December 2016

Evans heroics not enough for Irish

Louise Parkes

Published 10/08/2016 | 02:30

Jonty Evans of Ireland riding Cooley Rorkes Drift. Photo: Reuters
Jonty Evans of Ireland riding Cooley Rorkes Drift. Photo: Reuters

The Irish team finished eighth and Jonty Evans produced two fantastic clears to line up ninth individually as Olympic Eventing drew to a close yesterday.

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After Sunday's cross-country phase, team medal hopes were already dashed, but foot-perfect runs for Clare Abbott with Euro Prince and Evans with Cooleys Rorkes Drift, along with an eight-fault effort from Mark Kyle and Jemilla, lifted Ireland one place as the team medals were decided in yesterday's first round of showjumping.

Evans had a scare when his horse was held for re-examination during yesterday's early-morning veterinary inspection, but the 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding was eventually passed fit to compete and jumped for fun around both courses, a feat matched by only four horse-and-rider combinations.

The top 25 went into the individual medal decider in which Evans was the only Irish representative. And, lying 13th as it got underway, he piled the pressure on those coming after him when bouncing around the tricky track yet again.

German Michael Jung was heading the leaderboard going into the closing day and never flinched, holding off all-comers to complete on his dressage mark for his second consecutive individual Olympic title with the 16-year-old Sam.

France won the team title and French team-member Astier Nicolas claimed individual silver, while America's Phillip Dutton took bronze partnering the 12-year-old Mighty Nice, bred by William Kells from Cavan.

The heartache story of the day was the 16 faults collected by 60-year-old New Zealand legend Mark Todd, who was lying individually fourth as the day began but whose 16 first-round faults not only cost him a medal placing but dropped his team from silver medal spot to just off the podium.

Irish Independent

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