Monday 18 December 2017

Olympic spot for Merveldt

Anna Merveldt will compete at the London Olympics as Ireland's sole dressage contender following the failure of Colombian team members to fulfill the minimum eligibility criteria at the international fixture in Fritzens, Austria at the weekend.

With less than 10 days to the qualification deadline, only one of the three Colombian riders achieved a high enough score, opening up two further places and allowing Ireland to move up from the reserve list.

Merveldt's build-up to the Games was interrupted by a car accident last November that left her with a broken rib. Just three weeks earlier, riding her top horse Coryolano, she had recorded a personal best and Irish record score of 75.25 in Vienna. The Kildare-born rider (49) has long been Ireland's leading dressage contender, finishing 11th individually at the Barcelona Olympics.

Meanwhile, at the 5-Star Canadian fixture at Spruce Meadows in Calgary on Saturday, Darragh Kerins finished third and Richie Moloney fifth in the Grand Prix. At Wierden, Holland Darragh Ryan won the Pony Grand Prix.


West Indies paceman Tino Best smashed 95 against England at Edgbaston yesterday to record the highest score by a No 11 batsmen in the history of Test cricket.

Best added 143 for the final wicket with wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, who completed his second Test hundred to remain 107 not out in a West Indies first-innings total of 426 -- on day four of the rain-interrupted match. England have already won the series 2-0.

England reached 221-5 at the close, with Ian Bell unbeaten on 75 and Kevin Pietersen spanking a rapid 78. Best took two wickets.


DUBLIN teenager Niall Murray had a great day at Oulton Park in Cheshire yesterday, winning both races in the British Ginetta Junior Championship and also setting the fastest lap of the opening race.

The 17-year-old from Firhouse has now won four of the eight rounds in the series, finishing second in three more, and holds a 20-point lead over his nearest rival.

Veteran Ray Moore just got the better of Lee Newsome in the Formula Vee race at Mondello Park, while Robert Butler completed a double in the Irish Touring Car Championship races, finally getting ahead of long-time leader Brian Fitzpatrick at two-thirds distance in the second race.


Ireland's Chris Bryan came agonisingly close to Olympic qualification at the Open Water 10km marathon in Setubal, Portugal. The Ennis swimmer was pipped for 14th place in a photo-finish by Hungarian Csaba Gercsak for the final European spot after both clocked 1:46:30.7.


There was no fairytale ending to Ireland's London expedition as they lost 3-0 to hosts Britain.

The result ensured that Denis Pritchard's side, without a few regulars, finished last of the six nations competing at the Investec Cup.

Irish Independent

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