Robert Splaine will use the European Show Jumping Championships in Denmark next August as a test run in his bid to qualify a team for the 2016 Olympics.
The Corkman, whose reappointment as Irish manager was announced yesterday by Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), ensured Ireland its first Olympic show jumping medal with his selection of Cian O’Connor last year, having sensationally dropped his initial nomination Denis Lynch. In he addition, he saw his team lift the Aga Khan Trophy in Dublin for the first time in eight years, and also win the British nations cup at Hickstead.
However, Splaine failed against expectations to lead a team out in London, something he intends to rectify when the Games roll around again in three years.
“The ultimate goal is to win medals in Rio de Janeiro, but to get there we have to qualify and that challenge begins right now,” said Splaine yesterday.
“This year, we will approach the European Championships as if it is a test run for Olympic qualification and will use it to produce a template to achieve that. We will have our first chance to qualify for the Olympics at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy next year and, ideally, we would hope to wrap up qualification then, rather than wait for the second opportunity in the European Championships in 2015,” he said yesterday, having signed a four-year contract, which, as per usual, includes a mid-term review.
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