A medal may have just proved out of their reach but Great Britain’s showjumpers were still smiling after helping secure qualification for next year’s Olympics with a fourth-place finish at the European Championships.
In a nail-biting climax to the jumping final in Germany, Great Britain were unable to defend their title from two years ago but still put in an encouraging performance.
First to go was Ben Maher on Diva II and the duo produced a superb clear first round in a time of 86.68 seconds to the get the team off on a strong footing.
Jessica Mendoza then picked up the baton for the team, coming home inside the time, albeit with four faults.
Joe Clee and Utamaro D’Ecaussines had a single pole down – putting them eighth in the individual standings – while Michael Whitaker and Widdowson’s Cassionato finished on nine faults after two fences down and a time fault.
That meant GB were 0.76 penalties behind bronze medallists Switzerland while gold went to the Netherlands with hosts Germany taking silver.
And while missing out on the podium, the result ensures Great Britain will try and defend thei London 2012 title in the Olympic Equestrian Centre at Deodoro in Rio next year – a fact Clee was keen to point out.
“We were less than one fault away from the bronze medal, so it’s really disappointing actually,” he said.
“The main thing was to qualify and we did that but a medal would have been a real bonus.
“I’m very happy [to help get the team to Rio.] I want to stick with this team next year, all these guys have worked really hard and they deserve a chance.
“Next year he’ll be a completely different horse again, he’s learnt so much this year, he’s never been under that kind of pressure or seen those kind of jumps ever, so I’m over the moon.
“That was the first fence he’s touched, he was only two fences away from another clear. It’s a massive buzz and the main thing was to get qualified and we did.”
Great Britain will now be represented in jumping, dressage and eventing at next year’s Games with Chef D’Equipe Di Lampard thrilled by the developments.
“I’m just delighted to get qualified it was a fantastic team performance,” she said.
“They’ve all worked together, this is why we put this team together because they get on so well, they help each other, they discuss the courses throughout and they’ve supported each other through it.
“The first day was tremendous pressure because we knew on the speed leg we had got to be in there, we had to finish in the first five to stand any chance. Of course to get the clears in yesterday it was tremendous pressure and today.”
© Sportsbeat 2015