Great Britain showjumping team qualify for Rio Olympics

Joe Clee competing for Great Britain
Joe Clee had only one fault in his round

Great Britain will defend their Olympic showjumping title in Rio after securing qualification with fourth place at the European Championships in Aachen, Germany.

The GB team were defending European champions, having won two years ago.

Michael Whitaker, Joe Clee, Ben Maher and Jessica Mendoza missed out on a medal this time but earned one of three extra qualifying places for Rio.

The Netherlands won gold, with Germany taking silver and Switzerland bronze.

Switzerland and Spain took the other two Olympics qualifying slots on offer for those not already qualified.

However Ireland are to appeal after finishing 0.380 penalties behind final qualifiers Spain in controversial circumstances.

Cian O'Connor, Ireland's third of four team riders, had jumped clear approaching the 11th fence when a member of the arena staff then appeared to run in front of him.

He leapt into a flowerbed to avoid horse and rider and O'Connor then had the next fence down.

Had he completed a clear round, the London 2012 individual bronze medallist would have helped secure an Olympics place, especially as fourth team member Denis Lynch then left all the fences up.

Damian McDonald, chief executive of Horse Sport Ireland, said in a statement: "We are very proud of the Irish team's performance at the European Championships in Aachen.

"As regards the incident where an arena official ran in front of Cian O'Connor, causing interference, we will be pursuing this through all appeals mechanisms available to us within the rules of the international governing body, the Federation Equestre Internationale."

Ireland showjumpers set to miss out on Rio Olympics