Ireland’s remaining hope for an Olympic equestrian medal crashed out of contention today after the second qualifying round of show jumping.
With a total of five rounds to be jumped in total to be close to claiming a medal, 30 year-old Greg Broderick from Tipperary started badly on Sunday with eight faults, and then added a further five penalties today with a foot in the water and a time fault.
With the highly-regarded Irish Sport Horse Going Global, Broderick was Ireland’s sole representative in show jumping after the team failed to earn a place at the games, and following the failure of Irish riders to gain medals in either Eventing or Dressage, he was widely regarded as Ireland’s last hope to make it to the podium at Rio for equestrian sport.
However, eight jumping faults in the opening qualifying round left supporters disappointed, but there was anticipation that Broderick might rekindle Irish hopes with a clear round in the second qualifying competition today.
A slow start to the Tipperary rider’s round this afternoon at the Deodoro stadium produced anxiety that he might fall foul of the clock, and indeed this proved to be so when he came home with a single time fault. However, the time penalty was not the biggest of his worries, as Going Global had also made a less than inspired attempt at the water jump, failing to stretch past the tape for a further four faults.
Now left with a total of 13 penalties on his scorecard after two rounds, Broderick, who had been third to jump in a 69-strong field, had a long and agonising wait to see if he’d be amongst the top 45 competitors who would make the cut for Friday’s third qualifying round.
As it turned out, 13 faults was just a bridge too far for the Irish combination, and they finished in equal 50th place alongside competitors from Morocco and Qatar.
The Team competition ran in tandem with the Individual qualifier today and four teams managed zero scores – USA, Germany, Brazil and Netherlands go into tomorrow’s Team Final without a fault, while France carry just one. Canada qualified with 4 faults, with Sweden and Switzerland the other qualifiers on 8 faults.
Ireland’s previous Olympic attempt, at London in 2012, had resulted in an individual Bronze medal for Co. Meath’s Cian O’Connor and Blue Loyd in individual show jumping. Jack Burns/Josh Tobin