Riders went back to zero scores for the first round of the Youth Olympic Games Individual Jumping Competition yesterday, with nine riders having clear rounds.
Yesterday’s course, presented by international course designer John Vallance, of Australia, featured fences that were a little higher and wider than the teams event. Distances in the course were very even and fair with a flowing line. A triple combination was also included to test the riders. Competitors who went clear were Marcelo Chirico (URU), Thomas McDermott (AUS), Mohamed Abdalla (EGY), Timur Patarov (KAZ), Dominique Shone (CAN), Guilherme Foroni (BRA), Samantha McIntosh (RSA), Wojciech Dahlke (POL) and Mario Gamboa (COL).
Abdurahman Al Marri (QAT) and Juan Diego Saenz Morel (GUA) also looked like going clear, but were out of luck at the last obstacle and had it down, putting them on four penalties each. There were six riders who finished the competition with four penalties. New Zealand’s Jake Lambert, a member of the Australasian silver medal winning team, had three rails down on Le Lucky.
The obstacles that caused most trouble were fence 7, an oxer on a related distance from fence 6, which was often ridden too long, and fence 12, an airy vertical, standing on its own a long way from 11.
European team members Carian Scudamore (GBR) and Valentina Isoardi (ITA) both had to sit out the competition as their horses were lame and had to be withdrawn. In keeping with the rules, there is no substitution of horses at this stage of the event. Although obviously disappointed that they would take no further part in the competition, the pair have a team gold medal as a consolation.
The event’s official trainer, Paula Hamood, said she was proud of how the horses were going. She was responsible for sourcing and training the horses in the months before the event. «I wouldn’t have done anything differently with their training. I feel a great sense of achievement, knowing that the dedication we put into choosing and educating these horses, has enabled young riders from all over the world to follow their Olympic dreams.»
After yesterday’s round, the medal positions are open going into the highly anticipated final round tomorrow, which will be the last equestrian competition for the Games.