Saturday 17 March 2018

Lynch's Olympic selection in limbo

Louise Parkes

The selection of showjumper Denis Lynch for London 2012 is under the microscope after one of his horses was disqualified from further competition at the prestigious international show in Aachen, Germany following veterinary examination yesterday.

Last night the national governing body Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) confirmed to the Irish Independent that it has "asked the OCI to pause the ratification of Denis Lynch to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games in London".

Lantinus, the 14-year-old gelding which tested positive for a banned substance leading to the Tipperary man's disqualification in the closing stages of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, "tested positive for hypersensitivity" yesterday morning, according to a press statement issued by the Aachen show organisers.

As a result, the horse was disqualified from the rest of the event, which concludes tomorrow. Lynch was given a 30-minute window in which to appeal the decision, but elected not to do so, and is free to continue competing at the show with his other horses.

This is the third hypersensitivity disqualification for Lynch within the last 12 months. At the same fixture in Aachen in July 2011, Lord Luis was disqualified after veterinary examination, but returned to action the next day following a further vet-check.

Then, at the Global Champions Tour leg in Rio de Janeiro two months later, another of Lynch's horses, All Inclusive NRW, was one of three horses deemed unfit to compete after thermography testing.

In relation to the Beijing incident, Lynch said at the time that he used a product which he didn't realise contained a prohibited substance.

Billy Twomey's Romanov was also disqualified in Rio, the Corkman however immediately explaining that a cut sustained by the horse while travelling had become infected and sensitive to touch but that he felt "he was fine to jump". Twomey has been named along with Lynch for London.

Lynch and Lantinus were part of the Irish team that finished third in Thursday night's FEI Nations Cup at Aachen, the pair picking up four faults in the first round and having two fences down second time out.

The international governing body, the FEI, began experimentation with hypersensitivity testing in 2005 and has refined the techniques used to a much greater extent in recent years. The testing includes the use of both thermography cameras which detect heat and manual examination by a vet who applies pressure to the legs.

It is understood that a thermography camera was not required in the examination of Lantinus yesterday morning as the horse responded to the initial manual check.

Ground Jury president Stephan Ellenbruch explained to the media at Aachen yesterday that no accusation is made against a rider in the case of positive hypersensitivity, but that the horse is deemed "unfit to compete".

With the clock ticking ahead of the OCI's 5.0 final deadline for athlete submissions next Monday, a HSI spokesman said last night: "We are awaiting a full report on this matter from the FEI and our own personnel in Aachen. In the interim, we have asked the OCI to pause the process of ratifying Denis Lynch's selection for the Games."

HSI could not confirm who would be brought forward from the list of reserve riders should Lynch be delisted by the OCI before Monday's deadline.

An Olympic Council of Ireland spokesman said yesterday: "The final call will be made by the OCI."

Lynch could not be contacted yesterday.

Irish Independent

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