Cook targeting eventing gold at World Equestrian Games

Cook targeting eventing gold at World Equestrian Games

07 September 2018 / 12:20
Eventer Tina Cook already has two world titles in the bank – and the three-time Olympic medallist is now eyeing a third global crown.

With the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) set to get under way in Tryon, North Carolina this weekend, 13 days of competition lie ahead for the richly talented quintet who will be donning Britain’s colours stateside.
Cook and Piggy French spearhead the British eventing challenge, in a team which also contains WEG first-timers Tom McEwan, Gemma Tattersall and Ros Canter.

Cook is the experienced hand in the eventing squad and boasts a rich array of trophies and silverware on the biggest stages, including team golds at the 1994 and 2010 WEGs.

And the veteran rider, who also won team silver at London 2012 and bronze in Beijing 2008, as well as individual eventing bronze in the latter, is confident that the team has what it takes to bring home the top prize this time around.

“We’ve got a really strong team, everyone’s got good resolve, very strong characters and fantastic horses,” said Cook. “I think it’s my fifth World Equestrian Games and I’ve been on many different teams. 

“But I think we will go out there with as good a chance of coming home with a gold medal as anyone – we all put in our personal best, the horses all travel out there well and we travel out there well. 

“There is no reason why we can’t come back with a medal. I think this year it’s more open than it has been in the past.”

French and Cook are the most seasoned and decorated riders on the team, and both displayed good form and momentum going into the championships with impressive showings at the recent Burghley Horse Trials, finishing fifth and 11th respectively.

And French, at her second WEG, feels the strength in depth the team boasts stands the nation in excellent stead not only for the competition, but for future events.

“It’s great for Great Britain that we’ve got such depth at the moment and it was difficult to get selection, because we could have easily taken two or three great teams that on their day could be as strong as anyone,” said French.

“It’s great for us as a nation and it’s taken a few years to get to this point. There are lots to choose from, but I think it’s a strong team and we’re all looking forward to it. 

“Thinking about it from an individual point of view, you just do what you can for yourself and every single person is a danger to be honest. 

“I just have to do the best I can and hope that it’s right up there.”

Great Britain have won 49 medals at the WEG since its inception in 1990, including 19 golds – second on the all-time list behind only Germany with 87.

Elsewhere, triple Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin leads the dressage squad, with Emile Faurie, Carl Hester and Spencer Wilton also hoping to go for gold.

William Funnell, Amanda Derbyshire, Holly Smith and William Whitaker will go in the show jumping, with para-dressage, vaulting, reining, driving and endurance also part of the action in North Carolina.

Sportsbeat 2018