Cian O’Connor had opted to withdraw from the showjumping team final after his horse Kilkenny suffered a nose bleed during the final of the individual event at Equestrian Park on Wednesday night in Tokyo.
The pair finished seventh in the individual, clearing every hurdle but incurring a time penalty that left him with a score of 88.45 and out of contention for the gold medal jump-off. He was however the highest finisher of the three Irish contestants.
“Unfortunately he had a nose bleed at the end of the competition but the vets checked him over and he seems fine,” O’Connor said on social media. “We’re allowed to continue to compete but for me his future is more important. I’m going to mind him. I’m going to be on the ground and I’m going to help Bertram, Darragh and Shane.
“Please god they can get a team medal and we will be back to fight another day. I’m just happy he’s in such good shape and he jumped so well throughout the qualifier and the final. To finish seventh in an Olympic final is not so bad and we’ll be back to fight another day.” Bertram Allen Pacino Amiro suffered eight faults via two knocked fences and came in 15th with a time of 84.64. Darragh Kenny was the last of the Irish trio to compete. His time of 85.11 with another eight faults leaving him 17th on the list.
O’Connor’s place will now be taken by Shane Sweetnam in the team event. The Dunmanway rider was eight individually in helping Ireland to team gold at the 2017 Europeans and competed in the 2018 World Equestrian Games where the team finished seventh.
He also won the first five-star Grand Prox of 2021 at America’s Wellington Equestrian Festival. He holds a world ranking of 26th, significantly higher than O’Connor and three more than Allen, and he will partner Alejandro.
The team qualifiers take place on Friday with the final on the following evening.