For the second Olympic Games in a row, a South Tipperary show jumping star has seen his Olympic dream shattered as he is dropped from the Irish national team in controversial circumstances.
Denis Lynch, the Tipp Town man who is one of Ireland’s top show jumpers, was dropped from the proposed Olympic equestrian team on Monday, following the disqualification of his horse, Lantinus, from a competition in Aachen, Germany, last Friday.
He is now considering an appeal of the decision by Horse Sport Ireland to withdraw his nomination to the Irish team for London 2012.
The shock decision brings back bad memories from the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when Lynch was disqualified after Lantinus tested positive for a banned substance.
This week’s bad news came following Lantinus testing positive for ‘hyper-sensitivity’ at Friday’s international Nations Cup event.
It was the same horse that Lynch was riding in Beijing, in 2008, when the pair were disqualified from the Irish Olympic team on the final day of the individual show jumping competition.
Mr Lynch has said he is “devastated” that his nomination to the Olympic team has been withdrawn by Horse Sport Ireland and is considering an appeal of that decision.
His name was only sent to the Olympic Council of Ireland last week, by HSI.
In a statement released after the shock announcement, he said: “I am devastated to relate that my nomination for the Olympic place in London has been withdrawn.”
He attended a meeting in Dublin with HSI officials on Saturday to explain the events in Aachen and “following a lengthy meeting, I, with my manager and lawyer were informed that they were not satisfied with the explanation provided and would therefore be recommending the withdrawal of my nomination for the Olympic games.”
He added: “Today is a very, very, disappointing day for me but rest assured I will return stronger from the experience.”
In a detailed public statement Denis Lynch explained the process of competition and animal testing, and he said that his horse had picked up a “small wound” in competition last Thursday but was under constant monitoring by the team vet and chef d’equipe, in conjunction with whom the decision to compete must be made.
Lantinus was considered hypersensitive by vets on Friday morning and Mr Lynch said the team decided not to appeal to allow the horse be treated.
“At no stage, was there any inference from the FEI veterinary commission that the hypersensitivity was anything other than natural occurring,” he stressed. The FEI (International Equestrian Federation) says hypersensitivity can be caused by a reaction to anti-inflammatory drugs, although it also occurs naturally.
Both Lantinus and Mr Lynch were free to compete in the remainder of events at Aachen.
The Tipperary rider said making the Olympic team had been his goal for more than a year. “This is a spot that I had spent 14 months competing to secure for Ireland and succeeded by finishing top of the individual Olympic rankings. This was important as the Irish team, of which I was also a part of, failed to secure a team spot at the Olympics. Perhaps this gives an indication to the pressure that was exerted on me in Aachen to compete in the Nations Cup with Lantinus.
“For the record, the measures implemented by FEI regarding hyper-sensitivity are excellent and ones in which I fully support.”
Mr Lynch, although disappointed, said the two Irish riders who will go to London to represent Ireland will have his full support, this summer.
“It is an amazing achievement to participate in the Olympics and I would dearly love Ireland to be successful in London.”