Poland Files Protest Over Olympic Dressage Qualification

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Beata Stremler riding Rubicon D. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Beata Stremler riding Rubicon D. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Poland has filed a protest with the FEI, International Equestrian Federation, over the Olympic dressage rankings that has apparently delayed confirmation of an individual starting place at the summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The protest was filed after Beata Stremler on Rubicon D was overtaken on the Olympic rankings by the Ukraine’s Inna Logutenkova on Don Gregorius that were awarded personal best scores in both the Grand Prix and the Freestyle at Lier, Belgium days before the Mar. 6 qualifying deadline.

Lier was one of 12 dressage shows staged around the world in the last two weeks of the year-long system to qualify for the 60 places for dressage. Only the best four scores were counted for Rio Games qualification, half the number of scores required for the 2012 Olympics. Forty places were assigned directly for 10 teams with the remainder being individuals earning a start through championships, special events and for geographic groups and an overall ranking list.

Beata and Rubicon, a 13-year-old Rhineander gelding, started 12 times in six shows over a six-month period to the end of qualifying. Four of the six Grand Prix were above 72 per cent, all three Freestyle scores above 75 per cent and one Grand Prix Special result of 73.647 per cent.

“Well, I think I have done everything I could to try to quality for Rio on the honest, sporty way,” Beata told dressage-news.com. “We have got really good scores and placings on top competitions in Western Europe. I am proud of my horse and my team. The rest is not to be judged by me.”

She confirmed that Poland had filed a protest.

Inna and Den Gregorius started 24 times at 12 competitions from May of 2015. Of her two best Grand Prix scores a personal best of 73.980 per cent was awarded at one of the Lier competitions a week before the deadline and the other of 72.775 per cent at London Olympia last Christmas. The best Freestyle scores were 77.850 per cent and 77.300 at Lier, 76.275 per cent at Tallinn, Estonia and 75.575 per cent at Siauliai, Lithuania, both last October.

Judy Reynolds of Ireland on Vancouver K who did make the cut and will start in Rio said in an interview with the Irish Examiner last week the qualifying system was “disheartening.”

The most controversial result was the rankings leader Inessa Merkulova and Mister X receiving more than 82 per cent and Russian relative Matina Aframeeva on Vosk also being awarded a personal best at the Moscow CDI3* one week before the deadline. Both riders qualified for Rio.

The 2012 Olympic qualification system also led to a dispute over results in Central and South America at shows where there were three judges from the home nation.