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Cian O'Connor loses appeal over bizarre incident which cost Ireland Olympic qualification

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled out overturning results after a staff member ran out onto the course at the European Championships.

O'Connor and Good Luck.
O'Connor and Good Luck.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRISH SHOW JUMPER Cian O’Connor and Team Ireland have lost their appeal to overturn results at the FEI European Championships back in August.

Robert Splaine’s squad missed out on qualification for this year’s Olympic Games by less than half a penalty point after a controversial incident in Aachen, Germany.

On course for a clear round with Good Luck, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist O’Connor was disrupted by a steward who ran across him and jumped into a flowerbed nearby.

The incident cost Ireland a place in Rio as they finished just outside the qualification spots due to those faults and an appeal was lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

However, the results will be upheld and a CAS statement released today reads: “The appeal filed on 11 September 2015 by Horse Sport Ireland and Cian O’Connor against the decision rendered by the FEI Appeal Committee on 22 August 2015 is dismissed and the FEI decision is confirmed.

“The arbitration concerned a protest lodged by Horse Sport Ireland and Cian O’Connor following an incident during the team final at the FEI European Jumping Championships held in Aachen, Germany in August 2015, which counted as final qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“The incident involved a member of the ground staff during O’Connor’s round.

“The FEI Appeal Committee’s decision of 22 August 2015 confirmed an earlier decision taken by the Ground Jury at the Aachen championships in which the protest lodged by the Irish team was dismissed and a ruling was given that the results obtained on the course that day would stand.”

https://vine.co/v/eDg020gW6ZK

O’Connor, who was stripped of his gold medal at the Athens Olympics after his horse Waterford Crystal tested positive for a banned substance, has expressed his disappointment with the decision but says it is now time to move on.

“Disappointing news,” O’Connor wrote on Facebook. “Court Of Arbitration for Sport have upheld the decision of the FEI appeal committee from Aachen which means Team Ireland do not get a place for the Rio Olympics.

“I have no regrets. I tried everything possible and left no stone unturned in trying to seek fairness for what I feel was an unsporting decision made by the ground jury in Aachen.

It’s time to move on and refocus on the sport rather than getting caught up further in bureaucracy and even more angry with officialdom.

“Team Ireland are first reserve because of the good performance at WEG in 2014 so there is always a chance that we will get there yet – so best to keep aiming for it I guess!

“Another interesting chapter for my book when I get round to it and I look forward to telling the no-holds-barred version!!!”

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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