China, Thailand, and Poland secured their equestrian team tickets to next summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at special eventing qualifiers held in Saumur (FRA) and Baborówko (POL) over the weekend.
This will be a first-ever Olympic Eventing team slot for China and Thailand, although both have had individual starters at previous Olympics. The two nations finished second and third at the FEI designated Olympic qualifier held in Saumur (FRA) for Olympic Groups F and G, which covers Africa and the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Hong Kong finished fourth when only one of their three starters went through to the final Jumping phase.
Japan, already assured of a starting place on home ground next summer, were fractionally behind China after Saturday’s Pierre Michelet designed cross-country test, but regained the lead they had established in the dressage arena to take the top spot by 6.1 penalties ahead of the Chinese. Team China, led by double Olympian Alex Hua Tian who finished eighth in Rio 2016, held on for second place and a Tokyo ticket ahead of Thailand, also now with a place logged on the 2020 startlist.
Hua Tian, who made his Olympic debut at the age of 18 at Beijing 2008, was bidding for individual success with the talented Don Geniro, but four faults in today's Jumping handed victory to the 1993 European champion, Frenchman Jean Lou Bigot with Aktion De Belheme.
Double Polish Win on Home Soil
Pawel Spisak, already a four-time Olympian, led his team to victory on home turf at Baborówko to book Poland a place at next year’s Games. Riding his Rio 2016 horse Banderas, the 37-year-old also claimed the individual honors ahead of two-time Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung with Fischerchipmunk FRH.
Both Belarus and Russia also fielded teams at Baborówko, venue for the Olympic Group C qualifier covering Central and Eastern Europe. However, when just two of the Belarussians and one Russian completed all three phases, the Poles were left untroubled at the top.
Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand are already gearing up for Tokyo, having secured Olympic qualification at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™. Japan, as host nation, is automatically qualified, but the win in Saumur shows that the home side will be right in the mix next summer.
While three team slots were nailed over the weekend, there are still spaces available for five more teams to make up the full quota of 15 Eventing teams for Tokyo. An additional 20 individual places are up for grabs via the FEI Olympic rankings to fill the overall quota of 65 starters.
Remaining opportunities for nations to qualify Eventing teams for Tokyo are at the Pan-American Games in Lima (PER) at the beginning of August and the FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmühlen (GER) at the end of August, both of which have two slots available. Additionally, the highest ranked nation at the end of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ series 2019, which winds up at Boekelo (NED) in mid-October, will also book their ticket for next year’s Games.
The FEI system allows nations from each of the FEI Olympic Groups two opportunities to qualify, either at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 or at their designated regional qualifier. The FEI Olympic Groups for the Olympic qualification process are based on seven geographical regions: A - North Western Europe; B - South Western Europe; C - Central & Eastern Europe, Central Asia; D - North America; E - Central & South America; F - Africa & Middle East; G - South East Asia, Oceania.
The Charles Owen Technical Merit Award visits each of the 10 USEA Areas each year, presenting one junior and one adult amateur rider at the Training level with an award based on safe and effective cross-country riding. The Area VIII leg of the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award took place at the Cobblestone Farms Horse Trials, August 2-4, 2019. Noah Stanlaske and Michelle Weeks earned the junior and adult amateur awards, respectively.
For those that compete in a Hylofit USEA Classic Series Three-Day Event, what truly sets the competition apart from a regular horse trials is endurance day, where, in addition to cross-country, riders have the chance to experience the two roads and tracks phases and the steeplechase phase.
“We need to back up and look at the gut,” said Dr. Maureen Kelleher before diving into an explanation of the many different oral joint supplements on the market. “Digestion begins in the mouth. Salivary secretion starts to break things down as the horse chews things up and then swallows, and it ends up in the stomach. We’ve got more digestion occurring in the stomach and the small intestine, and absorption starts to occur in the small intestine and continues in the large intestine.”
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event (FHI) will host the U.S. Equestrian CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L Fall Eventing Championships along with the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships presented by Dubarry, October 17-20 at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area. The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International will award $50,000 in prize money.