Sunday 21 January 2018

Equestrian: Dropped Lynch considering appeal to HSI

Louise Parkes

Show jumper Denis Lynch was described by his brother and manager, Shay Lynch, as "devastated" following yesterday's decision by Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) to de-list the 36-year-old Tipperary man from selection for London 2012.

Last Friday, Lynch's 14-year-old gelding Lantinus was disqualified from further participation at the premier fixture in Aachen, Germany, when testing positive for hypersensitivity. This was the third positive test in 12 months for a horse ridden by the German-based Irishman who was last week named alongside Billy Twomey in Ireland's Olympic squad.

According to the international governing body, the FEI, a horse is considered hypersensitive when "nerve sensation or sensitivity" is increased "beyond normal limits". The front of all four limbs are examined, and tests can be conducted manually and with the aid of a thermography camera which detects "abnormal heat patterns". On Friday, Lantinus was disqualified following manual inspection.

On Saturday, Lynch pointed out in a statement that there was never "any inference that the hypersensitivity was anything other than natural occurring" and that he fully supports "all measures regarding hypersensitivity" implemented by the FEI.

Lynch was disqualified on the final day of the individual show jumping competition during the Beijing Games in 2008 when Lantinus tested positive for a banned substance.

In a short statement yesterday, the national governing body said it "has decided not to proceed with the nomination of Denis Lynch to represent Ireland in show jumping in the London Olympic Games. Horse Sport Ireland has now asked Show Jumping Team Manager Robert Splaine to put forward another combination from his list of reserves".

Cian O'Connor, who famously won and lost Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, is the most likely replacement having produced impressive recent performances in the Nations Cups at Rotterdam and last Thursday night in Aachen, riding Blue Loyd. The replacement rider is expected to be named today.

Shay Lynch confirmed to the Irish Independent last night that his brother "is considering an appeal", but that HSI "has no appeal process ready".

Denis Lynch returned to Ireland after competing in Sunday's Aachen Grand Prix for a meeting with members of HSI's monitoring group at the Clarion Hotel in Dublin Airport yesterday morning. And it is understood to have been a stormy affair.

The State-supported HSI, led by chairman Joe Walsh, was established in 2008 amid much noise about bringing Ireland's show jumpers to heel.

But six months later chief executive Damian McDonald, chef d'equipe Robert Splaine and veterinarian Marcus Swail found themselves sitting at a press conference supporting Lynch's claim that he had mistakenly used a product containing a banned substance at the Beijing Games.

Stringent selection terms and criteria were introduced for London 2012, with the specific intention of avoiding a similar occurrence. The same four men were all involved once again as Lynch's Olympic dream unravelled for a second time yesterday.

Irish Independent

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