Olympics Controversy Dismays Ireland’s Judy Reynolds–Irish Examiner
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Mar. 4, 2016
Judy Reynolds, until a week ago appearing on the verge of success in her long campaign to qualify an Olympic individual start for Ireland, was reported by the Irish Examiner Friday to be dismayed at the controversy that saw Russian and Ukrainian riders achieve last-minute unexpectedly high scores.
The 34-year-old rider and her Vancouver K have performed consistently in competitions throughout Europe in the last year of qualifying, but the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) qualifying criteria requiring results from only four shows created the last-minute rush to earn a start in Rio de Janeiro.
An outpouring of support for Judy–and also for Poland’s Beate Stremler who is in a similar situation–has come from riders around the world wishing her success on the 14-year-old KWPN gelding at the CDI5* in Doha, Qatar, one of eight Olympic qualifiers in the week before next Monday’s deadline.
The controversy surrounds suggestions Russian and Ukrainian riders were favored in competitions in Moscow, and Lier, Belgium, a view rejected by the FEI that upheld scores considerably higher than previously obtained and that the competitions were conducted in accordance with the rules.
“The FEI response is to be expected,” Judy told the Irish Examiner. “They have never gone against one of their own, so I did not expect them to start now…
“I’ve never heard of them altering a score. It is disheartening to think that we are not competing on a level playing field.”
She said the margin of improvement shown by the riders was inordinate.
“Sometimes, you have a bad day and your scores sink, but they had such good scores and you don’t show that kind of improvement at that level.”