Kilteel, Co. Kildare

Blog September 15th 2011

Well, you can prepare as much as possible but it doesn’t always go right on the day! The combined individual and team competition started on Wednesday with a one round speed Table C class where faults are converted into extra time.

There are a total of 16 teams here, although three of these only have three riders instead of four, so they don’t have the luxury of a discard score.

The course was winding, but fair and not as big as they will be later.

First out was Shane Sweetnam who had a lovely clear round in a good time.

I was next in and everything went really well until I was approaching the combination at fence nine. I made a mistake coming down to it which cost me the first and last parts, a triple bar and an oxer. It was disappointing as I then finished up my round as well as I had started it, but the extra time left me down the placings.

Denis Lynch managed a better round than me with two faults and Billy Twomey brought us right back into it by jumping a super fast round to finish sixth in the individual rankings.

So by my calculations, the team is now about two faults behind the last place available for Olympic qualification and seven faults off the bronze medal – so we’re not out of the running yet!

France is leading from Germany overall and the teams in contention who haven’t already qualified for 2012 are in current order Sweden (third), Holland (fourth), Spain, Italy and ourselves.

Of course, only one round has been completed and with two more rounds in the teams competition, which are in the form of a regular Nations Cup, it’s all to play for over the next couple of days…

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