A fantastic performance from the Irish Eventing team of Sam Watson, Padraig McCarthy, Susie Berry and Austin O’Connor, managed by Dag Albert at the FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni, Italy, has secured Olympic qualification for the Irish team for Paris 2024.
A fifth place finish following today’s final Show Jumping phase saw Ireland take one of the seven coveted Olympic places on offer and means Ireland have now qualified full teams for the Paris Olympics in Show Jumping and Eventing.
Ireland were in 12th place on Friday evening following the opening Dressage phase, before an outstanding Cross Country performance on Saturday saw the Irish climb seven places to fifth. Ireland were one of only a handful of countries who managed to complete the Cross Country course without jumping penalties but they still had some work to do in the final Show Jumping phase before a ticket to Paris could be confirmed.
Susie Berry and Monbeg By Design (ISH) gave Ireland the perfect start this morning with a clear round as first to go for the Irish in the Show Jumping arena, with Berry finishing on a final score of 46.4. That became an important counting score when Sam Watson and SAP Talisman (ISH) finished with a final score of 65.0. Austin O’Connor with Colorado Blue completed on a final score of 41.0 which was best of the Irish individually in 18th place, while Padraig McCarthy with Fallulah finished with a score of 49.4. That left Ireland on a total final score of 136.8 in fifth place overall of the 16 teams that competed.
The FEI Eventing World Championship team gold medal went to Germany on 95.2. USA took the silver on 100.3, while the bronze medal went to New Zealand on 100.7. The individual gold medal went to Britain’s Yasmin Ingham with Banzai du Loir on a score of 23.2.
Horse Sport Ireland’s acting High Performance Director Dag Albert said:
“We are all delighted, we can relax a bit now with Olympic qualification assured. They all performed brilliantly especially in Saturday’s Cross Country. We all walked the course together and made a plan. They all stuck to it and rode brilliant – everyone played their part. Susie got us off to a perfect start in the final Show Jumping and the rest all did their best which was enough at the end. I want to thank all involved, the owners, grooms, riders and the all the support staff who helped us to have a successful Championships.”
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Denis Duggan added:
“I want to offer huge congratulations to Dag Albert and his squad of Sam Watson, Padraig McCarthy, Susie Berry, Austin O’Connor and Felicity Ward on an outstanding performance to secure Olympic qualification. To have full teams in Show Jumping and now Eventing qualified for Paris 2024 is a massive achievement and gives us the maximum possible time to prepare for Paris. A special word of thanks to the owners of all our horses, to the grooms, coaches and all those working behind the scenes that helped to make this happen.”