A dressage rider from the Dominican Republic has become the first from her country to qualify for the Olympic Games in an equestrian sport.
Yvonne Losos de Muñiz secure the Rio 2016 Olympic spot available for competitors from Central and South America by taking the top two places in a show at West Palm Beach in Florida last weekend.
In the Florida competition, she qualified with both Foco Loco and Dondolo, competing against the best athletes from Argentina, Chile, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia and other countries.
Losos, 48, was also the first equestrian from the Dominican republic to qualify for a World Equestrian Games, making the cut in 2010 but sadly losing her horse Optimus Prime to laminitis in the run-up to the event.
Losos, who was born in Nigeria, won individual bronze at both the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, riding Bernstein, and the 2003 Pan American Games in her home country, riding Inatana.
Speaking in the newspaper Dominican Today after the announcement of her Olympic selection, Losos thanked the Olympic Committee Equestrian Federation, and especially the program Creating Olympic Dreams (CRESO).
“Without the constant support of my federation, the Dominican Olympic Committee (COD) and especially CRESO’d unconditional supported in recent years, I would not have been possible to achieve this dream that I share with my fellow Dominican Republic equestrians,” Losos said.
• Ireland has an individual dressage slot for Rio, adding to the team place already secured in eventing and the individual showjumping place secured earlier in the week. This means that there will be at least six Irish Equestrian athletes at the games.
Ireland was allocated the place by the FEI as a result of Judy Reynolds’ Olympic ranking.
Horse Sport Ireland Chairman Professor Patrick Wall said that “Judy is raising the profile of dressage in Ireland and her qualification for Rio is fantastic and should get more young people participating in the sport in Ireland which will pay dividends for the entire sports horse industry.”
Wall said that with six athletes representing Ireland, and “with such fantastic talent available to us it should be an event to look forward to”.