Rio riders named: A who’s who of who’s in and who’s out

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Andrew Nicholson (Mr Cruise Control, 1st), Zara Pillips (High Kingdom, 3rd) and Oliver Townend (Imperial Master, 2nd).
Andrew Nicholson, Zara Pillips, and Oliver Townend are three notable Olympic omissions for Rio 2016. © Mike Bain

With fewer than 50 days to go, the full qualifying list of equestrians for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have been announced, not without notable omissions and controversies.

British team silver medal eventer Zara Phillips Tindall has not made the cut this time, and nor has New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson, a seven-time Olympian and bronze team medalist at London 2012. Nicholson has come back from a serious injury last year, but has not come back from disagreements with the sport’s New Zealand governing body.

Zara Phillips with her 2012 Olympic eventing team silver medal.
Zara Phillips with her 2012 Olympic eventing team silver medal.

Missing out again is Britain’s Oliver Townend, but William Fox-Pitt is in, after a return to form following a major injury last year.

Making the Olympics for the first time for their countries is German-born Palestinian dressage rider Christian Zimmermann, and a showjumping team from Qatar, coached by Dutch equestrian Jan Tops.

Also expected to make his Olympic debut is Ireland’s Greg Broderick, who has been nominated for the sole jumping spot allocated to the country. In recent days the ownership of his horse, Going Global, has been in the news, with speculation the horse is not eligible to represent Ireland, but Horse Sport Ireland has dismissed the talk as “baseless”. Ireland’s reserves are Cian O’Connor and Bertram Allen, who earned the spot for Ireland.

New Zealand will announce its final four eventers plus a travelling reserve, and a dressage rider, at an event with the country’s High Commissioner to Britain, on Monday, June 27, in Berkshire.

A total of 200 combinations will compete at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Rio 2016 Games cluster – 75 in Jumping, 65 in Eventing and 60 in Dressage, with riders from 43 nations taking part.

The equestrian action gets under way with the Eventing horse inspection on August 5, the day of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, after which the world’s best horses and riders will compete for six sets of medals over 12 days of intense competition.

National Federations have until July 18 to submit their Official Final Entries for Rio 2016.

The 30 nations heading to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will also be decided on the selection of their athletes, with National Paralympic Committees handing this final list to the Rio 2016 Organising Committee by August 15.

Para-Equestrian Dressage will celebrate 20 years in the Paralympic Movement at Rio, where 78 Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes will compete for 11 sets of medals across four days of competition starting on September 11.

Full nominated entries:

Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, where equestrian sport celebrates 104 years in the Olympic Movement and 20 in the Paralympic Movement.
Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, where equestrian sport celebrates 104 years in the Olympic Movement and 20 in the Paralympic Movement. © FEI

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