OFFALY will have three competitors in the Olympic Games after Belmont show jumper Darragh Kenny secured his place on the Irish team recently
Kenny, a vastly experienced and very successful show jumper, was part of an excellent Irish show jumping team that secured a brilliant victory in the €1.25 Million Longines FEI Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona. It is the first time in fifteen years that the Irish show jumping team have qualified for the Olympics.
Kenny will be in the Olympics along with golfer Shane Lowry and rugby player Jordan Conroy. Clara man Lowry will compete in the Olympics golf tournament along with Rory McIlroy while Tullamore man Conroy is part of the Irish rugby sevens squad who qualified recently with a sensational victory in the final qualifying tournament.
And to put the icing on the cake an Offaly woman, Nicole Turner from Garryhinch in Portarlington will compete in the Paralympics in Tokyo. A very talented swimmer, Turner will compete in the 50 metre freestyle, 50 metre butterfly, 100 metres breaststroke and 200 metres individual medley.
Kenny continued his excellent form when him and Nayel Nassar propelled Paris Panthers to a great win in the Longines Global Champions Tour event in Monte Carlo today. It was their first victory of the season and Kenny said afterwards: “Both Nayel and I have very, very talented horses and they were jumping great so there was no need to change anything. Paris Panthers used the same horses in both rounds with Kenny on Idalville d'Esprit and they were the only team to have a clean sheet in the second round today.
In Barcelona recently, the team of Peter Moloney, Paul O’Shea, Darragh Kenny and Cian O’Connor had just one time fault as they won to book their place in Tokyo, Kenny was on Ann Thompson's Balou du Reventon and he had a clear round.
Kenny said afterwards:
“I knew going in the ring that it was a very, very important round for us and I knew we had a great chance of getting the ticket done with that round so I was a bit nervous going in the ring but I am very lucky that I have an incredible horse, he is absolutely amazing. He tries so hard all the time. On Thursday he jumped amazing and today I was just trying to make sure that I left all the jumps up.”
33 years of age, Kenny has enjoyed a very successful show jumping career and he was a member of the Irish team that won the Nations Cup event in Dublin in 2015. He has been competing in show jumping since he was ten years of age, he rode in his first Grand Prix at fourteen years of age and competed in the Dublin Horse Show for the first time in 2007 at 19 years of age. He has regularly been ranked in the top ten riders in the world.
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