Dramatic First Jumping Round

Doda De Miranda Neto, one of three Brasilian clears
Credit : Icon Scoop

Sunday 14 August - 19h25 | Lulu Kyriacou

Dramatic First Jumping Round

The show jumping in Rio could not have started in more dramatic fashion. Although the record will show that the Germans and Brasilians came off best on the leader board, it was what happened to some of the others that was the real story!

The show jumping at the 2016 Olympic Games began with the shock news that Marcus Ehning and Coronado had withdrawn shortly before the competition but soon the difficulty of the track soon distracted the competitors and onlookers alike from any what might have been speculation. It was a large for a first round, even at an Olympics,  with two maximum height (I.60m) obstacles with a combination at 4 and an open water with six strides following  it to a viaduct wall.  And the last line of a huge airy oxer to upright double off a turn followed by another oxer looked every inch a championship challenge.  

First to go in the competition that would decide who would go through to the rest of the individual rounds , was Argentinian  Ramiro Quintana,  whose horse slipped after the viaduct wall and then had to stop at the following oxer which, in hindsight, was a sign of things to come as the demanding course took its toll. Nick Skelton,  third to go on Big Star and despite the experience of  seven Games for the 58 year old rider,  faulted when he was a bit tight to the last fence and Big Star had the back rail,  although up until then the horse, who has had nearly two years off, was jumping beautifully.   Germany's Christian Ahlmann was the first to jump clear on 16 year old Taloubet  but Luciana Diniz, Global Champions Tour champion, had a foot in the water on Fit For Fun plus another rail which demonstrated the size and toughness of the first round.  Next to go, World and European champion Jeroen Dubbledam and Zenith also failed to clear the water.  Kent Farrington  and Voyeur were not troubled by the course, efficiently clear for the USA as was Janike Sprunger on her 10 year old chestnut mare Bonne Chance for the Swiss.  And last minute replacement Phillip Rozier who stepped in after the withdrawal of Simon Delestre, gave France a dream start, clear on Rahotep de Toscane

Falls, run outs and rails down

Clear rounds were however, relatively rare in this round which would decide the team jumping order. To the delight of the crowd, Brazil put three clean sheets on the scoreboard to earn themselves a late draw in the team rounds. Edwina Alexander got one on Lintea Tequila and Daniel Deusser added a third for the Germans on First Class.  Ludger Beerbaum who spoilt the German's perfect score card when Cassallo lowered the last.  Karim Elzoghby  put a zero on the board  for for Egypt as did Amy Millar for Canada.  Ben Maher had to settle for one down on Tic Tac,  so did Michael Whitaker  who hit the planks with Cassionato. Which left John Whitaker to spare British blushes.  The sixty-one year old who has won over 20 championship medals did not let the side down, steering Onellaia  to a perfect clear. Harrie Smolders matched him to keep the Dutch in the competition on a keen looking Emerald. Eric Lamaze was equally efficient on Fine Lady and so was Sergio Alvares Moya with Carlo.  Defending champion Steve Guerdat rode a masterful clear round on Nino de Buissonnets.  
Cassio Rivetti was the first big casualty at the double one fence from home, eliminated from the individual competition for a fall when his horse, Fine Fleur du Marais,  got caught on the back rail of the oxer and stopped at the second part, dropping Cassio and eliminating him from the competition.  Argentina's Bruno Passaro was also eliminated there for two stops as was one of Belgium's two individual riders, Nicola Philippaerts.  Belgian hopes were not entirely dashed though as Jerome Guery was clear on Grand Cruz van der Roz. Japan also lost one for two stops at this doubleThe miserable start of the Ukraine continued when Ferenc Szentirmai only got as far as the combination before Chadino said no thank you although Rene Tebbel jumped a clear round afterwards.  But the biggest drama was saved until the end.  Already eliminated  for two stops on course, Jur Vreiling  was subsequently disqualified for misuse of the whip on Zirocco Blue, which meant the Dutch were down to a three man team.  Nicola Philippaerts was also disqualified for similar offences against Zilverstar Z and then, if it couldn't get ay more dramatic and just when everyone thought it was nearly all over, Penelope Leprevost fell off Flora De Mariposa when the mare stumbled after Fence 8 to end her individual chances of a medal.
As for the trivial matter of the results, Germany were level with Brasil on zero with several other teams including the French and the Americans level on four faults for second place.
The full result is here https://www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-standings-eq-jumping-individual

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