Tokyo 2020 Eventing Dressage Day One: Team GB Hold On To Gold
The Tokyo 2020 Eventing Dressage day one is complete and Team GB hold on to gold both the team and individual gold medal.
Tasked with being the second rider into the Tokyo dressage boards was the infamous, Team GB duo, Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. Aboard his multiple 5* winner, Oliver described taking on “a very safe test” in his debut Olympic appearance. However, the pair set the bar high for the rest of the field with a score on 77.27% in the dressage. This means Oliver and the grey gelding take just 23.6 points into the cross country round.
After his test, Oliver commented;
I’m very happy with the horse. We know he’s special and I’m just grateful for him to do a clear round in there – a very safe test. On my own terms, I’d want a little more, but 23.6 is a good starting mark for the team.”
“The highlight was the whole thing, that he went in and did his best in conditions that he’s not used to and in a stadium that’s very, very special. You’d think that because there’s no crowd, then there’s no atmosphere, but these stadiums are a little bit like Kentucky, they create their own atmosphere.”
Team GB’s other competitor for day one of the dressage phase was Laura Collett. Riding London 52, they were also making their debut Olympic appearance. Taking on competition in the evening session of competition, after some rainfall the combination waltz into fourth place, taking a score of 25.8 into the next phase. Despite scoring one of the top ten scores in British Olympic eventing dressage, Laura was somewhat disappointed with her result.
On social media, Laura explained;
Unfortunately it wasn’t the test I know he can do but I’m still so proud of LONDON 52. He just wasn’t his usual “show off” self but he tried so hard and is still a superstar … It says something of your expectations when you’re disappointed with a 25.8 at the Olympics!”
After day one of dressage Oliver Townend and Laura Collett sit in 1st and 4th place, respectively. They hold the Team gold for Great Britain too.
However, sitting closely inbetween the British riders are China’s Alex Hua Tian and Germany’s Julia Krajewski.
Alex Hua Tian, was the first to go for the first ever eventing team for China. Tokyo 2020 is Alex’s third Olympic Games, becoming the youngest Olympic eventer in 2008, when he took on the competition at the age of just 18-years-old. Alex took Don Geniro into the dressage arena for the gelding’s second consecutive Games. At Rio 2016, they finished 8th individually. This year, the pair edge ever closer to an Olympic title, slotting into second and closely behind the Team GB leader with a score of 23.9.
Meanwhile, sitting in third is Team Germany’s Julia Krajewski riding Amande de B’Neville. Riding the 11-year-old, Selle Francais mare since a six-year-old, the mare joined Julia’s yard as a show jumper. With the dressage phase potentially being the mare’s weakest at this year’s Games, the next two phases are where the duo may rise in the rankings. Julia has a taste of gold already, winning at the World Championships with Team Germany, although this is her first appearance at the Olympics.
With one more day of dressage left to go for this year’s Olympic Eventing, the standings are still set to change. Yet to take the stage is World, European and double Olympic champion, Micheal Jung. Team GB’s Tom McEwen with Toledo De Kerser is also making his debut performance on day two of the dressage phase.
Header Image; Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (FEI/Christophe Taniere)
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