Kiwi equestrians finish fifth

Jonelle Price riding Grovine De Reve finished highest of the Kiwi trio in 11th place. Photo: Reuters
Jonelle Price riding Grovine De Reve finished highest of the Kiwi trio in 11th place. Photo: Reuters
The New Zealand equestrian team has missed out on the medals at the Tokyo Olympics after a thrilling final showjumping event.

With one rider to take to the showjumping course, New Zealand had a chance at claiming a silver medal, with just 4.1 penalty points separating themselves in fourth, and second-placed Australia.

However, New Zealand's world number two-ranked rider Tim Price, on Vitali, dropped three rails in his round to eliminate the team from medal contention.

As it happened, the team's French and Australian rivals both went clear in their rounds on the course, so even a perfect performance from Price would have come up short.

The New Zealand team eventually finished in fifth place, behind Great Britain, Australia, France and Germany.

The Great Britain team of Oliver Townend, Laura Collett and Tom McEwen comfortably claimed the gold medal after capitalising on fine performances in the dressage and cross-country - their riders copped just eight penalty points in the showjumping to give the side a 13.9 point victory over the second-placed Australian trio of Shane Rose, Kevin McNab and Andrew Hoy.

While all three New Zealand riders also progressed to the individual-eventing final round, they failed to make an impression with Jonelle Price finishing highest of the trio in 11th place.

Jesse Campbell finished in 22nd place, while Tim Price ended his campaign in 24th after another penalty-strewn round.

Tim Price and his young horse Vitali never quite looked comfortable on the course. Photo: Reuters
Tim Price and his young horse Vitali never quite looked comfortable on the course. Photo: Reuters
Earlier, on a challenging course which very few riders went through clear of any penalties, Campbell, on Diachello, got things underway for the New Zealand team effort and rode through the course clear, though he copped a 0.40 penalty for being one second over the 79-second time limit.

Then, riding just before the French team's number two and under extreme pressure, Jonelle Price produced a perfect round, drawing on her wealth of experience in the sport.

"This is all about pressure jumping and he [her horse] did that today," Price told Sky Sport.

Perhaps that performance put some pressure on Frenchman Karim Florent Laghouag, as he dropped a rail on his round on the course to close the gap between the two teams - and third and fourth place - to less than one rail. 

Australia was also just 1.3 points ahead of France at this stage, setting up an exciting finale to the event as each country's final rider determined the last two medals on offer.

First of the three was New Zealand number one Tim Price and his young charge Vitali never quite looked comfortable on the course, the pair dropping two rails at the first triple obstacle.

One further dropped rail meant Price finished with 12 penalty points, pushing the team below Germany in the overall rankings.

A disappointed Price told Sky Sport his horse's youth really showed under the pressure of the event.

"He's a young horse and that was, possibly, on display a bit tonight," he said about Vitali.

"We're all here trying our hardest, they're not machines, they're animals and you've got to take it with a grain of salt if it doesn't go to plan.

"Very disappointing because the other two guys - Jesse and Jonelle - jumped out of their skins and it's a shame to let them down."

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter