Great Britain’s Nick Skelton and Ben Maher have successfully qualified for Friday’s Individual Jumping Final after producing some skilful riding earlier today at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro, Rio.
Coming forward to complete his round, seven-time Team GB Olympian Nick Skelton with Beverley Widdowson’s Big Star, produced a lovely jumping round across a technical and challenging course. An unfortunate pole down in the middle of the combination saw the pair accrue four penalties, alongside a single time fault for finishing just beyond the time-allowed. This left them on a total for the round of 5 penalties, and a total for the Individual qualifying rounds of 13 penalties.
Commenting afterwards Nick said; “I'm happy with Big Star, the way he jumped he was amazing. I was a bit unlucky again, but Friday is a different ball game. He's [Big Star] been good, he feels good, and he's in good shape. [The course] was a bit more difficult today than yesterday, but it should be, it’s an Olympic Games.
“At the end we were a bit unlucky, there’s not a lot you can do when you have a vertical down in the middle of a combination, he left the floor good but he just touched it. He’s due for a change of luck, and fingers crossed for Friday; we all start equal [for the Individual Final] which is different.”
Ben Maher and Tic Tac, owned by Jane Forbes Clark, entered the arena immediately after their team-mates and showed great determination over the course to produce some stunning jumping to add only a single time fault to their score after an otherwise foot-perfect round, to leave them on a final total score of 9 penalties.
“Tic Tac felt amazing today, we’ve been progressing over the past three rounds. It’s been a tough week, we really believed we could come here and put in a good performance with the team and things just didn’t go our way yesterday. I feel my horse is jumping better every day it goes on.”
The final individual standings confirmed that both British athletes are through to the Individual final, with Ben finishing in twenty-third place and Nick in thirty-third; only the top thirty-five combinations progress to the final Individual competition, which takes place on Friday (19 August).
Outside of the individual qualifying spots, the team placings were decided today and it was France who were victorious taking the team gold medal, the USA secured the silver, whilst in a thrilling finale that saw Canada and Germany jump-off for the Bronze, it was Germany who came out on top to take the third spot.
After the withdrawal of Michael Whitaker’s Cassionato from today’s individual qualifier, we can report that he was comfortable overnight and continues to improve and is expected to leave the veterinary clinic later this afternoon. The veterinary care at the equestrian venue has been excellent and we would like to extend our thanks to the team at Deodoro.
The final round of the Individual competition, to decide the individual medals, takes place on Friday from 14.00 BST.