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
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ