BIG DAY AHEAD FOR TEAM IRELAND IN TOKYO AS DAY EIGHT OF THE 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES GETS UNDERWAY

It was a busy morning once more for Team Ireland in Tokyo, with Mark English and Sarah Lavin both in action in athletics, while Sarah Ennis and Horseware Woodcourt Garrison (ISH) completed the dressage phase of eventing.

Play is currently underway for golfers, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry, in Round 3 of the Men’s Individual Stroke Play, while there has been a weather delay for sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove.

ATHLETICS

Mark English was unlucky not to qualify from the Men’s 800m heats this morning, finishing in 4th place in Heat 5, with a time of 1:46.75. With just the top three of each heat automatically qualifying, English’s heat started out slower than those gone before, effectively ruling out a chance of progressing as a time qualifier.  

Speaking afterwards a disappointed English was able to positively reflect on his 2021 season as a whole saying: “Coming into the year, my two goals were to qualify for the Olympics, and get a new Irish record, and I did that.”

Looking to the future, English has his eyes set on next year’s World Championships, having already secured his place, adding: “I’ll get back training for them in a couple of weeks, there’s nothing else I can target at the minute.” 

Sarah Lavin also put in a strong display of hurdling, equalling her second fastest time ever, but unfortunately didn’t progress from the Women’s 100m Hurdles heats this morning. In a difficult first round field, featuring the world record holder in the event, Lavin clocked a time of 13.16 to finish her heat in 7th place.

All eyes now turn to the Mixed 4x400m Relay final, with Sophie Becker, Cillin Greene, Phil Healy and Christopher O’Donnell in action at 1.35pm (Irish time).

EQUESTRIAN

Sarah Ennis and Horseware Woodcourt Garrison (ISH) completed the dressage phase of eventing on a score of 38.10 in 50th place heading into the Cross Country phase tomorrow. The newly-designed dressage test, specifically created for the hot conditions in Tokyo, got the better of Horseware Woodcourt Garrison as he tensed up entering the arena.

“Being honest, I am very disappointed,” stated Ennis. “We really thought we had him in a position to get a much better mark.  He has been going amazing all week. He just got nervous when he went into the ring. We just have to hope that the rest of it goes a bit better.”

Of under three minutes, the test is half the time of a normal eventing dressage test which means a lot more movements are packed in. The format asks a lot of the horses and creates plenty of opportunities for the athletes to make mistakes.

The action tomorrow meanwhile moves from the Equestrian Park out to the Sea Forest Cross Country course, based about one hour from the main venue. Similarly, to the rest of the Irish team, Ennis is looking forward to the next two phases and knows that it will not only be a dressage competition.

“The time is going to be really influential. It is like an ERM [Event Riders Masters], it is going to be really fast and quickly, and I think there are going to be a lot of time penalties out there.”

SAILING

It’s the final day of fleet racing for Irish 49er team, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, with races 10, 11 and 12 due to be completed. The top 10 from the field will qualify through to the medal race, with the duo currently sitting in 14th place. However, races have currently been delayed due to current weather conditions. More updates will follow later today.

MORNING RESULTS DAY EIGHT: JULY 31ST, 2021

ATHLETICS

Men’s 800m Heat: Mark English, 4th in 1:46.75

Women’s 100m Hurdles Heat: Sarah Lavin, 7th in 13.16

EQUESTRIAN

Eventing, Dressage: Sarah Ennis & Horseware Woodcourt Garrison* – 38.10, 50th place.

* 2009 gelding by Garrison Royal (ISH) out of Davitt Star (ISH), by Furisto (HANN). Breeder: Patrick J Kearns, Laois. Owner: Breda Kennedy.

Confirmed overall results after dressage:

Sam Watson & Tullabeg Flamenco (ISH) – 34.30, 38th place.

Austin O’Connor & Colorado Blue (SHBGB) – 38.00, 49th place.

Sarah Ennis & Horseware Woodcourt Garrison (ISH) – 38.10, 50th place.

Team standings – 110.40, 13th place.

DAY EIGHT SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 31st, 2021 

*Schedule may be subject to change 

Ongoing - Golf – Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry – Men’s Stroke Play Round 3 

Sailing – Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove – 49er Races 10, 11 and 12 (delayed – update to follow)

12:45 Hockey – Ireland v Great Britain, Pool Game 5 

13:35 Athletics – Sophie Becker, Phil Healy, Cillin Greene, Christopher O’Donnell -  Mixed 4 x 400m Relay Final  

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