Austria, France Among 15 Teams, Individuals from 15 Nations Earning Starts at 2020 Tokyo Olympics
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Dec. 30, 2019
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Austria and France are assured of team starts at the Tokyo Olympics with the end of qualifying competitions Sunday while unofficial results indicate the tiny nation of Luxembourg will get an individual place for the first time ever and Bermuda since 1996.
Austria and France each with three combinations to make up “composite” teams move into the slots that had been pencilled in for South Africa and Brazil after qualifying earlier this year but did not complete required minimum scores.
Nations with no teams that appear to have qualified individuals for 15 places–though it may not be sorted out and made official until February–are:
North Western Europe
Finland and Norway
South Western Europe
Luxembourg and Switzerland
Central & Eastern Europe; Central Asia
Ukraine and Belarus
Africa & Middle East
South Africa and Morocco
South East Asia, Oceania
New Zealand and Korea
North America, Central and South America
Brazil, Dominican Republic, Bermuda and Mexico
Overall based on Olympic ranking
Austria and France join Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United States of America. Teams are limited to three rider/horse combinations so the 15 nations with teams make up 45 and 15 individuals for a total starting lineup of 60.
For Austria, Ulrike Prunthaller on Bartlgut’s Quebec, Victoria Max-Theurer, a four-time Olympian, on Benaglio, and Stefan Lehfellner on Fackeltanz OLD were the top three ranked combinations that earned the team start.
Morgan Barbançon on Sir Donnerhall II was atop the individual rankings to lead France’s bid for nations not already qualified with a team. Anne Sophie Serre on Actuelle de Massa and Alexandre Ayache on Zo What were the other top placed French combinations.
The result followed the French federation’s decision last year not to send a squad to the Tryon World Equestrian Games because the expense was not justified by expected results.
The 27-year-old rider competed at the 2012 Olympics for Spain before switching to ride for France almost two years ago.
National Olympic committees nominate official entries for the Olympics that must meet the minimum requirement of two Grand Prix scores of 66%, no matter which combinations earned a quota place.
The spot for Luxembourg, a nation not as big as the state of Rhode Island and hemmed in by France, Germany and Belgium, was secured by Nicolas Wagner on Quater Back Junior.
Nicolas began competing the Hanoverian gelding as a seven-year-old at the World Young Horse Championships in 2016. Nicholas, who will turn 28 years old a day after Quater Back officially becomes 11 years old on Wednesday, moved up to Big Tour in 2018.
Annabelle Collins competed Joyero VG, a P.R.E. stallion that will be 12 years old at the Olympics, at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018 before beginning the campaign for an Olympic slot.
Suzanne Dunkley rode for Bermuda at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and Barcelona in 1992.