In an almost unbelievable series of events that have plagued the top-notch Irish show jumping squad since last fall, the final result is that Bertram Allen, ranked one of the top ten show jumpers in the world and fifth on the Longines Global Champions Tour, will not be going to Rio for the Summer Olympic Games. Bertram had three horses who were qualified.
Horse Sport Ireland, the official body for Irish equestrian performance, announced early Wednesday that show jumping Team Manager Robert Splaine has recommended Greg Broderick and MHS Going Global be nominated as the country’s sole individual slot. Greg is currently ranked 252nd in the world.
The troubles for Ireland really began in August of last year when they failed to qualify a team for the Olympics under very bizarre circumstances. An arena worker ran in front of Cian O’Connor’s during his do-or-die round at the European Championships, and he and his horse Good Luck had the next fence down. The Irish protested and appealed multiple times, but ultimately lost their bid for a team slot by one controversial rail.
It was then up to the individuals to earn an individual slot by their global ranking, and in March it was announced that Bertram’s top ten ranking was sufficient to earn one individual spot. But according to Olympic rules, the nation may nominate any qualified rider for the slot, not necessarily the person who earned it.
The FEI Nations Cup leg in St. Gallen, Switzerland last weekend had all four members of the Irish Olympic short list on hand for final selection, and Greg and “Junior” rode a clutch double clear that secured the team win, and ultimately Greg’s ticket to Rio. The pair also jumped a double clear in the Grand Prix on the same weekend. Bertram and his mount Molly Malone were members of the winning team and delivered an excellent clear in the second round, but were the drop score in the first round with 10 faults.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Greg said, “I have to say I’m over the moon and thankful to the owners the Krugers for keeping this great horse with me. I feel for Bertram who won the spot and I’m sure he will represent us in many more Olympics. It was a huge call by Robert Splaine and HSI to put us forward and we will do everything in our power to make Ireland proud. Roll on Rio.”
According to Horse Sport Ireland, Greg Broderick hails from outside Thurles in Co. Tipperary where he operates Ballypatrick Stables. The 31 year old has been nominated with Irish Sport Horse, MHS Going Global. The ten year-old gelding who is owned by Caledonia stables, was bred in Kilkenny by Mrs Ita Brennan who sadly passed away recently.
As of publication, Bertram has not released a statement, but did post on his page a link to a news story titled “Why One of Ireland’s Biggest Medal Hopes for Rio Hasn’t Even Made the Team”
Ireland is currently the first reserve for an individual place and for a team place at Rio. Should an extra team or individual place open up between now and the definite entry date of July 18th, Robert Splaine has listed three reserve combinations.
These are, in alphabetical order:
Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V
Denis Lynch and All Star 5
Cian O’Connor and Good Luck
You can see Horse Sport Ireland’s Release in its entirely below.