SAUDI ARABIA WINS BRONZE, THE NETHERLANDS WINS SILVER AND BRITIAN WINS GOLD - LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC SHOW JUMPING
By Lulu Lulu Kyriacou for HORSE TIMES, London
THE EIGHT TOP TEAMS AFTER THE PREVIOUS ROUND WERE THE ONLY ONES THAT WENT THROUGH TO TODAY'S FINAL TEAM ROUND. GERMANY AND FRANCE WERE AMONG THE NATIONS NOT TO MAKE THE CUT BUT BOTH OF THOSE NATIONS HAD INDIVIDUALS STILL INVOLVED AND BEFORE THE REMAINING TEAMS FOUGHT IT OUT FOR THE MEDALS, FIRST THE REMAINING INDIVIDUAL RIDERS HAD TO JUMP. EGYPT'S KARIM ZOGHBY DID NOT APPEAR ON THE START LIST FOR THIS ROUND.
The 13 fence course had 16 jumping efforts (one combination, one double) and a time allowed of 88 seconds. It took ten riders before there was a clear over an extremely technical course and almost needless to say, it was one of the Germans who showed it could be done. Never write them off, especially as the individual contest was now sure to contain at least Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Bella Donna after their beautiful clean jumping round for just one time penalty. And just to drive the point home, the first completely clean sheet was produced by Marcus Ehning. Daniel Blumen and the delightful Sancha just had one fault to keep themselves into the individual rankings as did Australia's leading lady Edwina Alexander.
And then it was time for the remaining teams to decide the medals. By the time the first Saudi rider entered the arena, only Nick Skelton had managed to keep a clean sheet. HRH Prince Abdullah bin Miteb Al Saud had the second part of the double down but it was still an excellent performance, with Davos proving to be one of the superstar horses on the contest.
There had been no more clears by the time Kamal Bahamdan rode in. Once again the double fell but he also got a time penalty. However trainer Jan Tops will not have been too displeased with that result. The Americans saw their chances evaporating in this round as Reed Kessler had eight penalties at the difficult related distance between the water and the upright five strides later.
Having lost a little ground to the Dutch and British everything was to play for as the third set of riders began their rounds. Brazil's chance of a medal went when Reynoso Fernandez clocked up 46 penalties after a stop added time penalties to his already large score. Ramzy Al Duhami was the third member of the Saudi team to fall foul of the double but again it was the only rail that fell.
No less a rider than Rodrigo Pessoa began the fourth set of riders and it showed the difficulty of the course when he had a foot in the water and a time penalty. The British put in another four faulter to finish on eight as did the Dutch to force a jump-off. The World Equestrian Games silver medallist knew that whatever he did the Saudi's would take the bronze medal but his six penalty score increased his chances of the whole team being qualified for Wednesday, although only a maximum of three from any nation may contest the individual final.
So with the bronze medal decided, the Dutch and the British prepared to jump again for the gold and silver. It was very exciting. Nick Skelton and Jur Vreiling both went clear but Nick was slightly faster. Ben Maher was also clear with his home bred Tripple X but Michael Van der Vleuten had two down and handed the British an advantage. Scott Brash was the next British rider in but hit the third as the pendulum swung again. Marc Houtzager then handed the Dutch baton but had the second part of the double leaving Peter Charles to win the gold for Britain, the rider who have so far performed worst of the British team.
Peter and his horse Vindicat W kept their best until the last and duly jumped clear to carry the team and give the British the first Olympic gold medal in show jumping since 1952…..suffice to say the home crowd went wild!!
On Wednesday August 8th, the top 35 individuals will jump again for individual medals when the scores start again from zero.
Full results here: