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OLYMPIC GAMES: Wiltshire riders toast eventing bronze
8:31am Wednesday 1st August 2012 in Sport
ANDREW Nicholson and Jonelle Richards picked up bronze medals for New Zealand yesterday in the Olympic team eventing in London and Nicholson went close to doubling his tally.
In a show jumping phase again dominated by Germany at Greenwich Park, the pair were hot on the heels of the Great Britain quintet, who took silver.
And Richards, based in Mildenhall near Marlborough, was not only ecstatic to get on the podium but keen to look ahead to going one or two better in future.
She said: “There’s a brilliant feeling inside our camp. It really makes a big difference when you have a chemistry between the riders.
“My horse Flintstar is young, I’m young and we’ll both get smarter.”
Marlborough’s Nicholson finished an agonising fourth in the individual final and had to be content with the team spoils, having been treading carefully on Nereo with so much at stake.
He said. “We finished the first round looking forward to the second because it felt very, very good.
“I felt like we were being ever so careful – we kept to a tight line but were careful on the jumps because you couldn’t afford to have time faults, else you would be playing catch-up.
“We couldn’t afford to open our stride too much because he could easily take fences down.”
Missing out on qualification for that final were fellow Wiltshire riders Richards, Brazil’s Marcelo Tosi, South African Alexander Peternell and Lucinda Fredericks of Australia.
Tosi, whose Brazil team finished ninth, was also satisfied with his jumping phase on Eleda All Black.
“We did everything correct I’m happy with how we competed,” he said. “I’m proud of what we have done here because it’s a strong finish by the Brazil team – ninth is an improvement from the last Olympics, so we can be pleased.”
He added that living in the home Olympic nation had given him a sense of what he might expect from Rio in four years’ time.
“This has been an amazing event,” he said. “It was a good choice to choose Greenwich as the venue, everybody has been happy with the event and it’s good for the sport.
“Maybe in 2016 we can improve even more because we will have the home support and the support of the Brazilian federation. That gives us hope for the future.”
With Clayton Fredericks already eliminated after the cross-country phase on Monday, it was left to his wife Lucinda, with Flying Finish, to keep the family in contention, but she placed 35th with her country in sixth.
She said: “We rode well, and fast, and I’m a bit disappointed to miss out on individual qualification. When you’re in the team situation like we have been here, you have to keep going because every second could count.
“We finished well and that’s pleasing. There’s nothing worse than finishing on a bad note and having to sit on it. In the end, we weren’t far off.”
Her compatriot Andrew Hoy did make it through, the Badbury-based rider finishing 13th in the individual final. And Hoy was relieved to still be in the frame following a tricky phase on Rutherglen on Monday.
“I was happy with the jumping because in the cross-country he had been very fired up and he’s never been in anything like this kind of atmosphere here in London,” Hoy said.
“He’s come through really well. To come from where he has come from this time last year, to even be here at the Olympic Games is phenomenal.
“He coped with it really well and didn’t become anxious, whereas in the dressage there had been concerns. What I’ll take from the Games is that I’m so happy with how strong he has been.”
Peternell also bowed out of the individual competition after incurring 7.00 time penalties in yesterday morning’s final team jumping phase.
South Africa were not competing as a team in Greenwich, leaving Peternell, aboard Asih, to fly his country’s flag alone, but 46.00 in time penalties during the cross-country phase left him up against it.
He was unable to turn things around in the jumping and finished 49th, out of contention for a place in the top 25 riders who carried their scores forward into the individual jumping final.
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