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Para-equestrian teams for London 2012 named

February 2, 2012

Paralympic Games qualification for London 2012 ended on Tuesday, with para-dressage riders from 23 nations making the cut.

As the top three ranked teams at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010, Great Britain, Germany and Denmark will each be represented by a team of four plus one individual rider. Canada, the top ranked nation on the Para-Equestrian team ranking list for countries not otherwise qualified, will also receive five qualification slots.

Eleven nations, which qualified through the Para-Equestrian team ranking list and regional distribution of teams, will be entering teams of four riders. These are USA, Netherlands, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Mexico, Singapore, Australia and France.

New Zealand, Norway and Finland will be represented by two individual riders apiece. Bermuda, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong and Austria have each been allocated one individual slot.

The three remaining qualification slots will be allocated by Bipartite Commission Invitation issued by the International Paralympic Committee and the FEI. These final qualifications will be announced on April 9.

It is the first time that Ireland has secured a team place at the Paralympics.

Horse Sport Ireland Chairman Joe Walsh congratulated the team on what he said was a hugely significant achievement.

"I want to thank Paralympics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council for their support and our affiliate Para Equestrian Ireland for their tireless work over a number of years to build up the para equestrian discipline in Ireland," he said.

"I would also like to acknowledge the roles of Avril O'Byrne and Naomi Donoghue who were the Chefs d'Equipe over the last few years, as well as team coach Donie MacNamara.

"Dara Kearney has recently been appointed as Chef d'Equipe for the team by Horse Sport Ireland and as Team Manager for London by Paralympics Ireland. Dara has been a real driving force for para equestrian in Ireland and I want to wish her and Donie well with the preparations," he said.

Lt Colonel Gerry O'Gorman, Chairman of Para Equestrian Ireland acknowledged the work that had gone into the team's qualification. "I would also like acknowledge the contribution of Para Equestrian sponsor Denis O'Brien who has been a very generous supporter of the team along with Horseware Ireland, Bluegrass Horsefeeds and TRM."

The nominated entries will be published on June 18 and definite entries on August 6.

A total of 78 Para-Equestrian riders will be battling it out for the 11 sets of medals available in Greenwich Park over six days from August 30 to September 4.



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