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New Zealand’s eventers have placed fifth in the teams’ event at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, with the British continuing their unassailable march to gold. However, it wasn’t all their way in the individual where Julia Krajewski (GER) and Amande de B’Neville snatched victory and the gold medal from Brit Tom McEwen (GBR) and Toledo De Kerser who took silver and Andrew Hoy (AUS) with Vassily De Lassos taking the Bronze medal.
Once the team competition ended, the top 25 combinations came back to jump off for individual honours, with all three progressing. Jonelle Price and Grovine de Reve were the best in 11th place, Jesse Campbell aboard Diachello 22nd and Tim Price and Vitali in 24th. In the teams’ event, Great Britain led from the front, to finish on 86.3 penalty points. Australia added a single rail to their tally to finish the event on 100.2 with the French adding a smidgen for a 101.5 result. Germany claimed fourth on 114.2 and New Zealand fifth on 116.4,
In the team competition, Jesse and Diachello were first out for the Kiwis and rode a brilliant clear round, picking up .4 time penalties to finish his first Olympic Games on 44.9. Jonelle Price and Grovine de Reve were all class with their clear round inside time. Tim Price and Vitali had three down for a final score of 38.8.
Jonelle said she felt she and Grovine de Reve were on track until the last individual round. “He didn’t feel quite he did like he did in the round before, but that is what it is like jumping two rounds. It is not something I have done before on him and it felt like he was lacking a little in the last round. Eleventh at the Olympic Games is not too shabby – top 10 was my aim so I am a little shy of that but I think he is a horse who is on the improve still and I would like to think he will be a very consistent performer for New Zealand moving forwards.”
Jesse was very pleased with how Diachello had jumped in the team competition. “We really were there and we had a shot but unfortunately we left it in the other team’s hands and it wasn’t to be. We did our best – we did everything we could to be in the hunt and we will take a lot from this. I am really pleased with how it all went and I have loved my time at my first Olympic Games.”
Tim Price said his young horse Vitali had a huge future ahead of him. “He is just a baby,” said Tim. “It is disappointing. He is just a young horse and the Olympic Games brings out all sorts of weird and wonderous things. When you look at Great Britain, who won today, they did an amazing job on horses who are through and through championship horses. “
And Tim is excited for the future with Vitali. “He is a great little horse. I have the world of faith in him for the future. I still believe he was the right horse to bring – we almost pulled it off. It was just little margins, especially in the first round which is what we were here for – the team. That is where you want to put your best effort and if I hadn’t made that mistake down that line the whole round could have been quite different. At least it didn’t cost us a medal so I can rest a little easy that I didn’t let people down to that extent but it is still very disappointing.”
Tim had plenty of praise for his younger teammate Jesse Campbell, who he said had shone all week. “It feels we are generating some exciting new blood in the game,” he said. “The culture within the team has been amazing and we are already talking about the world championships next year. It is only three years to Paris . . . we feel we can get some momentum out of this.”
Olympic chef d’equipe Graeme Thom said the Brits had come into Tokyo as a “team stacked with a powerhouse of riders and horses”. “We felt we would be in the melee for the next podium spots (behind the British) ,” he said. “We performed exactly as planned through the first two phases and we were ready for great competition today but unfortunately our momentum waned and misfortune cost us.”
The team will debrief and plan for the next championship event. “We will move forward with every expectation of a successful World Equestrian Games in 2022 with a strong connection to Paris 2024,” he said.
Vitali owed by owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore and Tim Price
Grovine de Reve owned by Therese Miller and Jonelle Price
Diachello owned by Kent Gardner and Jesse Campbell
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Day 2. Cross-Country
Kiwis Chasing Podium Position in Tokyo
New Zealand is still in the hunt for an Olympic eventing medal after an eventful day of cross country at Sea Forest in Tokyo.
While the Brits are in a class of their own at the top of both the team and individual leaderboards, there is some heated competition for silver and bronze, with New Zealand sitting in fourth place on 104 penalty points, with Australia in second on 96.2 and France in third on 97.1.
Oliver Townend (GBR) and Ballaghmor Class lead the individual stakes too on 23.6, with Julia Krajewski (GER) aboard Amande de B’Neville on 25.6, Laura Collett (GBR) with London 52 on 25.8 and Tim Price on Vitali sitting on 26.8.
Derek di Grazia’s cross country course lived up to the hype with just seven combinations coming home clear and inside time. The course had been shortened to 7.45 minutes due to the heat, which was a crucial factor for many, with a number nursing home very tired horses. The new format of just three riders and no drop scores put the pressure on all to make it home safely, however, there were two retirements and 10 eliminations on course. It was a beautifully presented and very compact cross country.
Olympic chef d’equipe Graeme Thom said it had been a good day for the Kiwis. “We jumped all three horses clear with a little bit of extra time on one but still stuck to the plan,” he said.
“We are still in the hunt, in fourth place. The trepidation around Derek’s course was well-founded. He produced a fantastic day of sport and true competition. We take our hats off to the Brits for being so strong, but everybody else is in a real battle for silver and bronze and hopefully things will go our way tomorrow.”
Graeme heaped praise on the support team who had been working tirelessly over the past 24 hours and he was proud too of the riders who had stepped up and done exactly what was asked of them.
World no.2 Tim Price said it was a full on cross country, and particularly for his young horse Vitali. “It felt fast and furious with lots of big jobs just around the corner,” he said. “It hits them in the face which is always a little bit of a risk for a young horse because they come up the hill and even though you have warmed up over some fences, it sort of dawns on them that this is actually a cross country day – not another training day – and it looks like it is a pretty serious day at the office so they have to absorb all that in two minutes before you start.”
But Vitali had coped extremely well and Tim said he couldn’t have been prouder. The combination added just 1.2 time penalties to their dressage score, to finish the day on 26.8.
“Out here you just had to keep squeezing because with 7.45 minutes, you haven’t got time to give them an easy couple of minutes. I had to ask quite a lot of a young horse in the first couple of minutes it felt like. He coped with it remarkably well – that is why I had the faith in him and the confidence in him too. He is an athlete . . . it is his athleticism that keeps coming to the fore.”
The much talked about and anticipated heat continued to be a big factor at the Games but Tim said it had been amazingly managed by all the teams as well as at the facilities at the equestrian centre.
Anchor Tim said all the Kiwi horses had pulled up well and he praised teammate Jesse Campbell who he said had nursed Diachello home “beautifully”. “He showed a true masterclass on how to bring a tired horse home and safely – these horses should all recover well in the night and we just want them to come out and jump well tomorrow.”
His plan was to “go and have a good jump for the team”. “Anything on top would be an absolute bonus.”
Jonelle felt Grovine de Reve had given her a lovely ride en route to a clear round with just two penalty points added to the score to finish in 12th place on 32.7. “He is quite experienced now. I have had him for two years. We have formed a really good partnership over that time,” she said.
“He perhaps wasn’t the fastest horse when I first got him but he has done nothing but improve and while I thought we weren’t going to be the fastest of the day I was hoping we would be close or thereabouts. I would have liked to have been five seconds faster but I am happy with that.”
She had team orders to take the long route at the coffin but says she would have had happily “popped through”. “There is so much at stake now with three on a team and it is all about consistency as we showed in the dressage. If we can have three rounds like that today, then hopefully we will be there or thereabouts still.” Jonelle felt the course had ridden as the team had expected.
Jesse was grateful he had done plenty of gym training in the build-up to the Games as he needed “every bit of stamina” to get his horse home. “It is a lot hotter than we have encountered in the days leading up to this. It is really hot out there. It is tough.”
“Up to about five minutes, the ride was exactly how I planned it,” he said. “We all knew we would be down on time but would have some galloping stretches. I nearly got onto my five minute marker and then the heat just hit my horse and we went from full tank to not much.
With the three in the team it was really important to finish. I just had to nurse him as best I could to get home and keep the jumping as could as I could.”
He had always planned to take the long option at the coffin but said his focus was to give Diachello as much support as possible. “It wasn’t the prettiest round that I wanted to have but I just had to get the job done.” Jesse added 14.4 time penalties to his score for a final tally of 44.5 in 27th spot.
Defending Olympic champ Michael Jung (GER) and Chipmunk FRH picked up a surprising 11 penalties for a pin which dropped them individually from first to 10th and the team from second to sixth.
Tomorrow’s second horse inspection could be very interesting, given the challenge today presented them all.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ
Day 1. Dressage
Tokyo Olympics: Jesse Campbell impresses on debut as Kiwi equestrians start solidly July30 2021
Jesse Campbell, riding Diachello, put on a composed performance on Olympic debut.
Kiwi equestrian Jesse Campbell has impressed on Olympic debut, as New Zealand’s eventing campaign began in solid style in Tokyo.
The 31-year-old, aboard Diachello, showed no signs of big-stage nerves, putting on a composed performance in the rain during the second session of the dressage phase on Friday night.
Campbell, the world No 97, is very much the junior of the Kiwi team, led by husband and wife Tim Price (world No 2) and Joelle Price (world No 7), but looms as the key member if New Zealand are to find success at these Games.
Jonelle Price and Grovine De Reve got New Zealand’s equestrian campaign underway in Tokyo.
And after he even managed to slightly upstage Jonelle Price on the opening day, it bodes well for the England-based Kiwi team, who are out for redemption in Tokyo, following their fourth-placed heartbreak in Rio five years ago.
New Zealand has a rich eventing history, with all 10 of the country’s Olympic equestrian medals, dating back to 1984, coming in that discipline. However, a first-ever gold is still being hunted in the team event (one silver, three bronze), which is run concurrently with the individual competition.
This is the first time since 2004, and just the second since 1984, that the Kiwis are riding without the legendary Sir Mark Todd – whose gold in Los Angeles came before Campbell was even born.
The debutant cut a quite chuffed figure at the end of his dressage test, though his face quickly turned to dismay when looking at the scoreboard. Turns out there were still scores coming in from the three judges. In the end, his 30.10 was good enough to put him in 11th spot of the 42 riders to have competed on day one, with another 21 to go on Saturday.
Earlier, in the first session, Jonelle Price, on Grovine De Reve, also produced a decent showing, scoring 30.70, which leaves her in 13th.
In what is a new and shorter Olympic dressage test, of just under four minutes per rider, there were some unexpectedly high penalty points scored, with four going over the 40-mark, all in the first session.
The night session produced some lower totals, though none were good enough to knock world No 1 Oliver Townend off top spot. He leads the pack on 23.60, and with team-mate Laura Collett in fourth, on 25.80, Great Britain are in great shape.
New Zealand sit sixth in the team stakes, and Tim Price will get his campaign underway at 1.38pm (NZ time) on Saturday.
The cross-country round follows on Sunday, before the jumping (team final and individual qualifier, then individual final) on Monday.
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything” – Vincent Van Gogh