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Gene Stuart

Not Until The Next Time

Horse Sport Ireland Called On To Reverse Decision Not To Field Olympics Dressage Team.

Stock image:Julien Roudier on Pixabay

A space has opened as New Zealand's team will not compete.

Kildare based Horse Sport Ireland is being called on to reverse its decision not to send a dressage team to the Olympics.

The Tokyo Games was the first for which Ireland qualified a dressage team.

Kildare Fianna Fáil Senator, Fiona O'Loughlin, says New Zealand has confirmed its team will not take their  place in Tokyo.

It means a berth for an Irish team has now opened.

Senator O’Loughlin says “This is a major failing of Horse Sport Ireland to not send an Olympic Dressage Team to Tokyo. It is a matter of international embarrassment within the sporting world, for a country that takes great pride in its sporting prowess.  

“There are a number of key issues here, the Board of Horse Sport Ireland made this decision on the last date for filing certificates of competency on 21st June. This is inherently unjust. If the decision had been made a week earlier, it is quite possible that we could now have a dressage team going to the Olympics for the very first time.”  

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) cannot select a team in the absence of Horse Sport Ireland nominating one. In order to select athletes, the OFI must receive a nomination from the National Federation, in this case Horse Sport Ireland.  

Senator O’Loughlin added, “Horse Sport Ireland informed the OFI that it would not nominate a dressage team because there are no longer athletes who meet the standards set out in their published nominations policy. This is simply not the case. There are two very fine horsemen eminently qualified who are prepared to go to Aachen, the quarantine centre for Europe, at a days’ notice both presently in mainland Europe.    

“Quarantine started yesterday and Heike, an individual rider is there solo. The Belgians have now taken Ireland’s place but New Zealand has just confirmed that they are not taking their place, so there is still an opportunity, but a decision would have to be made immediately because of the strict quarantine.  

“I have been in contact with Dane Rawlins and James O’Connor the two impacted horsemen. I have appealed to the CEO/Chairman of the Board to make the right, if late, decision to fulfil the Olympic dream of Dane and James and allow all of us the opportunity to cheer on our sporting heroes. I would like to wish Heike the very best of luck.” 

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