Irish showjumpers pay tribute to “legend of the sport” Tommy Wade

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The mixed Army and civilian Irish team of 1963, from left, Tommy Wade (Dundrum) Diana Conolly Carew, Seamus Hayes and Capt. Billy Ringrose. 
The mixed Army and civilian Irish team of 1963, from left, Tommy Wade (Dundrum) Diana Conolly Carew, Seamus Hayes and Capt. Billy Ringrose. © RDS Archives

Irish showjumper Tommy Wade has died at the age of 80. One of the sport’s all-time greats, Wade died in the early hours of Monday morning at the Bons Secours Hospital in Cork, after suffering a stroke last week.

As a mark of respect to Wade, the Irish Show Jumping team will wear black armbands in this Sunday’s Longines FEI Nations Cup at La Baule in France.

Wade, from Tipperary, won Nations Cup and Grand Prix competitions all over the world and was most famous for his partnership with the horse Dundrum.

Tommy Wade when he was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2013. 
Tommy Wade when he was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2013. © Laurence Dunne/ Jumpinaction.net

At the 1963 Dublin Horse Show, he won all five international classes and was part of the winning Aga Khan team.

Later as Irish Chef d’Equipe, Wade helped Ireland to more than 30 Nations Cup victories and was the Chef d’Equipe when Ireland claimed a gold medal at the European Championships in 2001 and at the World Equestrian Games in 2002 when Dermott Lennon won individual gold.

Last August at the Dublin Horse Show, Wade was presented with a Horse Sport Ireland Hall of Fame Award and received a specially commissioned medal from current Irish Chef d’Equipe and three-time Olympic medallist Rodrigo Pessoa.

“Myself and the Irish team are very sorry to hear today of the passing of Tommy Wade,” Pessoa said.

“He was a monument of the Irish team as a rider and great leader as Chef d’Equipe. Tommy has a huge amount of respect from all our team. We will do everything in our power to win on Sunday in honour of him.”

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy said Wade was an “incredibly gifted” horseman.

“His record as Chef d’Equipe of the Irish team is phenomenal, not least in 1999/2000 when Tommy led Ireland to 10 Nations Cup wins in one season. He was a true legend of the sport.”

Wade is also the only equestrian to date to be inducted into the Irish Sports Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife, Felicity, daughter Maria and sons Robert, Alan and Ronan.

Tommy Wade and Dundrum in action in 1966.
Tommy Wade and Dundrum in action in 1966. © Dick Shakespeare
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