Ireland drawn ninth to jump in Olympic team Show Jumping qualifier

  • 5 August 2021, 17:38

The stage is set for what promises to be a thrilling and tense Olympic team Show Jumping qualifier in Tokyo tomorrow (Friday), with Michael Blake’s Ireland among 19 teams looking for one of the 10 coveted places in Saturday’s Olympic final.

Cork’s Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro during jumping 1st horse inspection at the Equestrian Park during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

A total of seven teams have made changes following the individual competition, including Ireland who will be without the hugely experienced Cian O’Connor. The London Olympic Bronze medallist recorded his second top 10 finish in an Olympic final with a brilliant seventh place finish in Wednesday’s individual final with the Irish Sport Horse Kilkenny. The 9-year-old gelding unfortunately had a nose bleed during his clear jumping round (picking up just a time fault) and although now fully recovered, O’Connor has taken the decision to withdraw Kilkenny from the team competition.

Team manager Michael Blake has called up Cork native Shane Sweetnam who makes his Olympic debut with Alejandro, a 12-year-old gelding owned by Sweetnam along with Spy Coast Farm and Seabrook LLC.

Sweetnam will be first of the three Irish riders to jump and will be followed by Bertram Allen with Pacino Amiro (ISH), while Darragh Kenny will be last of the Irish to jump with VDL Cartello.

(l-r) Shane Sweetnam, Bertram Allen and Darragh Kenny

Under the new Olympic format, teams will not have the luxury of a discard score, which sets up what promises to be a drama-filled competition under the lights at Equestrian Park in Tokyo.

The full list of teams and the order of go is as follows:1, Czech Republic; 2, China; 3, Japan; 4, Israel; 5, Mexico; 6, Argentina; 7, Morocco; 8, New Zealand; 9, Ireland; 10, Egypt; 11, France; 12, Sweden; 13, USA; 14, Great Britain; 15, Brazil; 16, Switzerland; 17, Belgium; 18, Germany; 19, Netherlands.

The Olympic Show Jumping team qualifier starts at 11am Irish time on Friday. RTE will show each of the Irish riders in action, while the entire competition can be watched on the Eurosport Player/Discovery+ (subscription required).

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