The Olympic dream of Greg Broderick, Ireland’s sole show jumper in Rio de Janeiro, ended abruptly yesterday as he failed to progress beyond the second qualifier.
The Tipperary rider picked up four faults in the water jump and one time fault with MHS Going Global on a day when a clear round was essential to make up for a disappointing opening effort on Sunday, when he finished with eight faults at the double as he approached the finish.
Third into the arena, Broderick was forced to sweat as the remainder of the 69-strong field tackled the course and he slipped down the table before his worst fears were realised. Broderick’s 13-fault total ultimately put him in equal 50th place, with the top 45 going through to today’s third qualifier.
The 31-year-old was a surprise and controversial Olympic selection by Ireland manager Robert Splaine, the rider having burst back onto the scene after a long lay-off - that saw him undergo surgery for a groin injury - to produce a stunning four clear rounds with MHS Going Global in the Nations Cup and grand prix in Switzerland. The pair also jumped double clear in the nations cup at Dublin Horse Show last month. Splaine said his decision was based on Broderick’s then current form, with London Olympic bronze medallist Cian O’Connor, Denis Lynch, and Bertram Allen, who won the Olympic place for Ireland, losing out.
Last night, Splaine said he stood over his selection of Broderick “100%”.
“I had to work off specific criteria and timelines and I selected an outstanding combination at that time and since then he has proved at five-star level to be in great form,” said Splaine.
Accounting for Broderick’s disappointing display, Splaine said: “Obviously, the first qualifier, the double, was a difficult fence that cause a huge amount of problems and to have the two fences down over one small mistake at the first part was unfortunate.
“He had a very small error at the water today. He looked to jump it well and looked to put a bare toe on it, which was expensive. He jumped a superb round. He was in excellent form, he acquitted himself well and he was not out of place. It is disappointing not to qualify for the next round.” The Corkman has been Ireland manager since 2006 and his contract runs in line with the Olympic cycle. However, he declined to discuss his future.
“I’m not interested in discussing that. Anything to do with my contract, I will debate that at the relevant time. ” Broderick could not be contacted for comment.
A major shock occurred in the battle for team honours, with defending champions Briton failing to make today’s second round, though Ben Maher, Michael Whitaker, and Nick Skelton are through as individuals, while John Whitaker is out.
The US, Germany, Brazil, and the Netherlands share first place on zero, with France (one fault), Canada (four faults), Sweden and Switzerland, both on eight faults, making up the rest of the field. Brazil progressed despite Stephan de Freitas Barcha (Landpeter Do Feroleto) joining Ukraine’s Cassio Rivetti (Fine Fleur du Marais) in being disqualified for over use of spurs. Brazil launched a protest at their rider’s exclusion from today’s round.
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