Team Ireland had three more riders and horses competing in the Jumping Individual Qualifiers in Tokyo this morning
These Irish athletes had high hopes of achieving good scores coming into this event. Darragh Kenny riding Cartello was first for Ireland, next was Bertram Allen on Pacino Amiro and lastly Cian O’Connor on Kilkenny. Shane Sweetnam riding Karlin
These three were competing against 70 other riders and horses at 19:00 in the Equestrian Park in Tokyo.
Ireland had some of the highest ranking riders in the competition and with the best 30 athletes qualifying for the final, we were right to be optimistic.
As the individual show jumping gets underway at #Olympics2021 the riders below with Manager, Michael Blake (left) are all world class. Medals in prospect. Good Luck Darragh Kenny, Bertram Allen & Cian O’Connor pic.twitter.com/p3HcsmmN1N
— Gavin Duffy (@GavinDuffy) August 3, 2021
First up for Team Ireland was Kenny as the eighth athlete. The man from Offaly along with his horse, Cartello, were ranked eighth in the world.
As he completed the course, it was clear why he was so highly ranked. He finished his run with zero penalties in the fastest, at the time, of 82.01 seconds. It was great to see how he rode with speed, style and tenacity to leave his mark on the opening round.
Eventually, Kenny had his position cemented as the second fastest going into the final.
THE PERFECT START
First of the Irish riders to go in today's Olympic Show Jumping individual qualifier, Darragh Kenny and VDL Cartello jump an outstanding clear round.
That puts them in the lead after 8 have jumped with only two clears so far.
Top 30 to qualify for final. pic.twitter.com/g7Pc9LJjk5
— Horse Sport Ireland (@HorseSportIRL) August 3, 2021
Next up was Ireland’s youngest showjumper, Allen rode in 16th. He Enniscorthy man, riding Pacino Amiro was ranked in 29th in the world in early July.
He continued Ireland’s stellar form as he made another perfect run. He finished with zero penalties and only three seconds slower than Kenny to make him the second faster rider so far.
This was a major task for the young man and it was important for him perform strongly on his Olympic debut. His place in the final was quickly confirmed and he may even be in with a shout for a medal finishing as sixth fastest today.
ANOTHER CLEAR FOR IRELAND! In a time of 85.18 for Bertram Allen & Pacino Amiro (ISH).
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) August 3, 2021
Lastly for the Irish was O’Connor riding in 25th on horse, Kilkenny. Many will remember the Meath man for his comeback bronze medal in London 2012, making Ireland’s only equestrian medallist at this Games.
He took a slightly more cautious approached than his teammates but managed to complete Ireland clean sheet for the opening session. He finished the course in a time of 88.66 seconds leaving him in good standing to reach the final.
O’Connor had to wait until late in the competition until his place was secured but he made it as one of those with zero penalty points.
The greens are in the clear 🤩🇮🇪
— The FEI (@FEI_Global) August 3, 2021
The three Irish riders had an agonising wait as almost 50 more riders had their turn before their positions were confirmed.
Team GB’s Ben Maher riding Explosion W finished as the fastest qualifier while Israel’s Ashlee Bond on Donatello 141 was third behind Kenny.
The final will take place in the Equestrian Park tomorrow morning, Wednesday 4th August. This will start at 11:00 Irish time.