VIDEO: Irish Equestrian Suffers Heavy Fall and Elimination During Jumping Event at Tokyo Olympics

Published 08/06/2021, 10:15 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Equestrian – Jumping – Team – Qualification – Equestrian Park – Tokyo, Japan – August 6, 2021. Shane Sweetnam of Ireland falls from his horse Alejandro. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis


It seems Ireland’s equestrian athletes lack the famed “luck of the Irish” in the Tokyo Olympics. Despite their impressive track record in show jumping, Shane Sweetnam suffered an early elimination in today’s team jumping event.

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During the final, he and his horse Alejandro suffered a fall on an obstacle, which eliminated the pair.

Shane Sweetnam crashes during show jumping event at Tokyo Olympics

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During the individual jumping event earlier this week, Cian O’Connor faced a difficult situation as his horse, Kilkenny bled from his nostrils. Although the pair finished the event in seventh place, O’Connor announced the pair will withdraw from the team jumping event.

The 41-year-old cited the need for Kilkenny to rest after the incident as the reason to withdraw. Sweetnam and Alejandro came in as a replacement for the Irish pair for the team jumping event today. Although the pair made a good start on the course, disaster struck midway through the performance.

As they approached the ninth fence on the course, Alejandro tripped on the 1.5m high fence. This caused the pair to fall, which forced their elimination.

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The team jumping event in the Olympics reduced the team members in any team to three. In addition, the new format specifically for the Games counts every rider’s score in the results of the event. Hence, Sweetnam’s crash turned out to be very costly for Ireland in the team jumping event.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Equestrian – Jumping – Team – Qualification – Equestrian Park – Tokyo, Japan – August 6, 2021. Shane Sweetnam of Ireland tries to control his horse Alejandro. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Owing to his crash, Ireland’s score would be much lesser than every other team. Even if Sweetnam’s teammates Bertram Allen and Darragh Kenny could garner many points, his elimination meant they wouldn’t be able to trouble the top.

The top 10 teams in the event progressed to the final in Tokyo. Sweden topped the qualifier, laying down a marker for the remaining nine teams. However, Belgium and Germany made strong cases for themselves by tying for second place.

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The final will take place on Saturday, August 7 at 7:00pm local time.

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Sanket Nair

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Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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