Team GB end 49-year wait for team eventing gold

Team GB claimed their first eventing team title in nearly half a century as Oliver Townend, Laura Collett and Tom McEwen struck equestrian gold in Tokyo.

British riders are perennial silver medallists in the competition, coming second in Los Angeles, Seoul, Sydney, Athens and London, plus claiming bronze in Beijing.

But after four days of competition, across dressage, cross country and jumping disciplines, they brilliantly held off the challenge of Australia and France in silver and bronze for their first title since 1972.

For 31-year-old Collett, riding London 52, just being in Tokyo was a staggering achievement in itself.

A heavy fall in 2013 left the Salperton born rider with spine, shoulder and rib fractures, spending six days in a coma after her life was saved by the air jacket she was wearing.

"Just to be here was more than a dream come true and to be stood here winning a gold medal, it hasn't sunk in," said Collett

"I look back and I think back to where I was eight years ago, I knew I was lucky to be alive, let alone able to do the job that I love and be lucky enough to have a horse like London 52 to bring me to a place like Tokyo.

"To top it off with a gold medal, I'm just super grateful to be on a team with these two guys as well. 

"It's been an unbelievable week, roll on the celebrations."

And they may not be done yet. Heading into the individual competition later today, Townend - on Ballaghmor Class - is second overall with McEwen in third on Toledo De Kerser and Collett fifth.

"I didn't know how much we had in hand so I put myself under a bit of pressure, said 38-year-old Townend, who hails from Huddersfield.

"These two guys have made it very easy for me jumping such amazing rounds. Tom went in and nailed a clear round, Laura's horse had a spook but she gave him a brilliant ride as always.

"We're surrounded by classy horses and very classy people.

"It's unreal, it hasn't sunk in. We've got another round to jump so we'll focus on that but there'll be a big celebration - and I don't think it'll be with a cup of tea and a biscuit."

Three-time Olympic champion Richard Meade was the last British rider to strike double eventing gold at the same Games when he won the team and individual title at Munich 1972.

"We've put in many, many hours to get to where we are now and it's all paying off, said McEwen, 30 from Minchinhampton.

"All the work we've put in, we've come together as a great team this week and we know we're on phenomenal horses.

"We're super excited to have got the job done."