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Ireland keen to avoid drama at London Olympics

March 3, 2012

An eventing team of at least three riders will join two individual show jumpers in representing Ireland at the London Olympics.

The announcement follows confirmation of the allocation of places yesterday by the FEI.

Horse Sport Ireland Chairman Joe Walsh said that it was very important that equestrian sport be strongly represented in London.

"With the Olympics on our doorstep it is vital that Irish equestrian sport is well represented at the Games but it is even more important that we bring credit to the country while we are there. We cannot have a repeat of the occurrences in show jumping at the last two Olympics when the reputation of our country was tarnished," he said.

"We are working very closely with the OCI to ensure that every possible practical measure is taken to avoid any issues in London.

"I want to thank the riders who secured these places for Ireland, their owners and support teams, HSI's Team Managers and coaches, our affiliate bodies and particularly the Irish Sports Council, who continued to back our sport despite disappointments along the way," he said.

The eventers and show jumpers will join Ireland's Para Equestrian team which secured a place at the Paralympic Games for the first time in January, bringing the total equestrian representation in London to at least nine riders.

While Ireland's two show jumpers will compete as individuals, the three eventing riders will compete as a team in the team competition.

In addition, Ireland has secured the first and the third positions on the waiting list for eventing. This gives Ireland a chance of increasing its representation in eventing up to the maximum of five riders if any of the 75 qualifiers are unable to compete at the Games.

Ireland has also secured the second waiting list position in dressage.

The places at the games were secured by Billy Twomey and Denis Lynch in show jumping and by Camilla Speirs, Mark Kyle and Michael Ryan in eventing, with the first and third slots in the eventing waiting list secured through points accumulated by Jayne Doherty and Capt Geoff Curran, respectively. The second wait list spot in dressage was secured by points gained by Anna Merveldt.

However, under IOC rules these places are allocated to Ireland and can be awarded to any eligible Irish rider. The decision on which combinations will represent Ireland at the games must be made by July 9.



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