Ireland Will Not Start Team at Tokyo Olympics, Luxembourg Next in Line

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Judy Reynolds riding Vancouver K at the 2019 Europeans to lead Ireland to a start at the 2020 Olympics. File photo. © Ken Braddick/

June 21, 2021

Ireland will not start a team at the Tokyo Olympics in a month, Horse Sport Ireland announced Monday, after qualifying for the first time.

Horse Sport Ireland said that High Performance Director Johann Hinnemann made the decision after several key members that had qualified for the Games “are unfortunately no longer available for selection due to a combination of horse retirement, veterinary and medical reasons.”

The failure of two combinations to meet requirements set by Ireland’s high performance director meant, it said,  “the resulting consequence being a team of three athlete/horse combinations cannot be fulfilled.”

Ireland’s first ever Olympic team slot was earned by a squad qualifying at the 2019 European Championships–Judy Reynolds on Vancouver K, Anna Merveldt on Esporim and Heike Holstein on Sambuca.

Next in line for the team position: 1. Luxembourg, 2. Belgium, 3. Switzerland.

The other 14 nations to have already qualified teams are: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Russia and United States.