Bleeding nose ends Irish horse’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic journey

Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny finished seventh in the jumping individual final at Tokyo 2020.
Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny finished seventh in the jumping individual final at Tokyo 2020. © Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny finished best of the three Irish combinations in the individual jumping final at Tokyo 2020, but will not take part in the team competition because of a nose-bleed.

O’Connor and Kilkenny were seventh equal place overall after a clear round, but picked up a single time fault when just over the time allowed ruling them out of the jump-off. They were one of just eight combinations not to knock a fence in the competition.

Unfortunately, Kilkenny suffered a nose-bleed (epistaxis) towards the end of the round. This was confirmed by the on-site veterinary team who immediately checked the horse straight after the competition, and he was then taken to the on-site Veterinary Clinic.

Under FEI Jumping Rules, blood on the flanks or in the horse’s mouth results in elimination, however, equine epistaxis is not a cause for elimination.

O’Connor said had he had opted to withdraw Kilkenny from the Irish team, and will be replaced by reserve combination Shane Sweetnam with Alejandro.

“I’ve decided not to put Kilkenny forward for the team competition as his wellbeing comes first and I’ve no doubt we will have much success together in the future. To finish seventh together in an Olympic Games is not so bad and we will be back to fight another day. I will now be on the ground and will do all I can to help Darragh, Shane and Bertram and hopefully they can get a team medal.”

Irish team vet Marcus Swail said Kilkenny recovered quickly after the competition and all his vitals were normal. “He was subject to further examination at the on-site veterinary clinic and the horse is now comfortable and back in his stable.”

Bertram Allen finished 15th in the individual final with Pacino Amiro after picking up eight faults, while Darragh Kenny finished on the same score with VDL Cartello to place 17th.

Britain’s Ben Maher and Explosion W are the new Olympic champions, taking the gold medal after a six-horse jump-off. Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and H&M All In took silver while the bronze went to The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten with Beauville Z.

The Olympic Show Jumping team competition qualifying round takes place on Friday, with the team medals to be decided in the final on Saturday.

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