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The Olympic Council and the Minister for Sport have been asked to intervene so the Ireland dressage team can go to Tokyo 2020
To explain the situation, the dressage team qualified for the Olympics in 2019. Now two of those riders can no longer participate due to personal reasons and issues with their horses.
With two replacement riders, Ireland could still qualify but Horse Sport Ireland (HIS) has decided not to. They have since been sent at least two appeals to change their decision.
Belgium has been given Ireland’s place at the Olympics now. There still is some hope that there may be an intervention to let Ireland compete.
The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) set the international qualification or MER for the Olympics at 66 percent.
Dane Rawlins and James Connor both made the standard and were set to be part of Ireland’s first-ever dressage Olympic team, but that dream could be shattered.
Dressage Ireland released a statement saying:
“This decision came as a shock both to the equestrian industry and to both Rawlins and Connor. Horse Sport Ireland could have chosen to have a dressage team – they chose not to.
“They also failed to announce their decision until it was too late for anyone to appeal their decision which seriously questions the governance of the process.”
— Horse & Hound (@horseandhound) July 5, 2021
As it stands Heike Holstein is the only rider heading to Tokyo 2020 at the end of the month.
At this late stand and already having two appeals denied, it is unlikely that the HSI will change its mind.
The riders can only hope for a last-minute intervention by the Minister of Sport or the Olympic council to help their Olympic dreams.
Supporters have defended the riding team on social media spreading messages with the hashtag #letthemride.
“Whether Ireland gets to make history by sending the first-ever Irish dressage team to the Olympics remains to be seen,” added Dressage Ireland.
Statement on Facebook this evening [2/7/2021] from @DaneRawlins1 about the Irish Olympic Dressage Team Appeal.
— Paul Nolan (@Nolan_Paul) July 2, 2021