The Irish show jumping team are through to the team final at the European Championships as Belgium lead the race for Olympic qualification.
Rodrigo Pessoa's team of Cian O’Connor, Shane Sweetnam, Peter Moloney and Darragh Kenny have made it through to Friday’s team final at the Longines FEI European Championships in Rotterdam, where the battle for European medals and Olympic qualification is reaching fever pitch.
Ireland will head into the final round in eighth place overall and in fifth place of the teams chasing one of the three Olympic qualification places on offer. There is one final Olympic spot up for grabs at the Nations World Cup Final in Barcelona in October, where most teams involved will already be assured of a place at Tokyo.
A brilliant performance from Belgium in Rotterdam, who like Ireland are chasing a ticket to Tokyo, saw them move to the top of the standings after three of their riders all jumped clear, to remain on a score of 11.07.
Germany, who are already qualified for the Olympics are in silver medal position (12.22), while Britain are in bronze and in the second of the Olympic places on 13.41.
France occupy the third and final Olympic place on 17.39 while Italy are also in the hunt on a score of 26.74 – just under a fence ahead of Ireland on 30.36.
The list of teams for Friday's final also includes Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark, however Portugal, Spain, Norway, Israel and Austria have all failed to make the cut.
Longines FEI European Championships @ECRotterdam2019— Team IRL Equestrian (@TeamIRLEq) August 22, 2019
Last to go for Ireland, Darragh Kenny & Balou Du Reventon finish with 4 faults
Ireland are through to tomorrow's final round to decide medals and Olympic qualification places.#Devenish #TheUnderwritingExchange #Equiline pic.twitter.com/pMZQ5l6pOI
Today’s competition saw Peter Moloney (Chianti’s Champion) and Darragh Kenny (Balou Du Reventon) finish best of the Irish having just a fence down each. Shane Sweetnam was clear over the first half of the course with Alejandro but finished with 12 faults, while Cian O’Connor was the discard score with PSG Final.
In a tight battle on the individual standings, Darragh Kenny in 12th is best of the Irish on a score of 5.78 and is just over one fence outside the medal places with three more rounds of jumping to go before the new European Champion is crowned.
Peter Moloney lies in 19th place on a score of 8.75 and will be hoping to be among those who will qualify for Sunday’s individual final.
Friday’s team final in Rotterdam gets underway at 2pm Irish time, with the 2019 European team medal winners and Olympic qualifiers set to be decided by 5pm.