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Austin O’Connor ‘delighted’ to qualify for Olympic individual eventing final after Irish team finish eighth overall in Tokyo

Austin O’Connor has qualified for the top-25 individual eventing final at Baji Koen where the Ireland finished eighth in tonight’s team finale. Great Britain claimed team gold ahead of Australia in silver and France in bronze.

espite a single fence down in the team medal-decider the Cork-born rider has moved up from 20th to 18th place.

Sarah Ennis and Woodcourt Garrison were first to go for the Irish team and also lowered just a single pole, at the middle element of the triple combination at fence five. Sam Watson and Flamenco had two fences down for eight faults while O’Connor’s grey was another victim of the bogey first element of fence nine that caught out many.

“Realistically I’m not going to get a medal, and I’m just delighted to get the opportunity of jumping again really. I don’t really know why I had that rail, it ’s easy to analyse but he was very good to me at the last – it’s swings and roundabouts,” O’Connor said..

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“I had him so forward we ran out of room but I thought he jumped great! He’s so good, you don’t even wear a pair of spurs on him or carry a whip – we are horse friendly! Course is a little bit different and even though it’s a small crowd there’s a big atmosphere, the fences are very colourful and the arena is very bright. A clear round would have been lovely but one down isn’t the end of the world, he jumped his socks off!” 

He goes into the final round of jumping carrying 42.00 penalty points. Germany’s Julia Krajewski leads the way on 25.60, and two members of the British team lie in silver and bronze – Ollie Townend with the Irish-bred Ballaghmor Class and Tom McEwen with Toledo de Kresker.

The oldest rider in Eventing, 62.-year-old triple Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy from Australia is close behind in fourth.

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