Individual Olympic Dressage Qualifiers Announced, Japan’s 71-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu In 3rd Games in 48 Years

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Individual places for 13 nations in addition to the 11 teams already qualified for dressage at the London Olympic Games were announced Friday by the International Equestrian Federation, and include Japan’s 71-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu in his third Games in 48 years.

Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands also qualified an individual in addition to their teams.

Teams in dressage are limited to three horse and rider combinations.

Nations represented by individuals only were Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Portugal and the Ukraine.

However. the Brazil placing is undecided in the Central and South America group because of a protest over the use of three judges from Brazil that is not allowed without a formal exception by the FEI. The two contenders for that place are Luíza Tavares de Almeida and Samba of Brazil and Yvonne Loses de Muñiz and Liebling II of the Dominican Republic.

Teams that have already been announced are Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.

Naming of individuals and teams brings to 50 the total number of combinations to compete in dressage at London where the team competition will be decided by both the Grand Prix and the Olympic Grand Prix Special and the individual medals by the Freestyle.

Because each dressage team is limited to three riders, there will be no discard score.

A total of 41 nations with 200 horse and rider combinations in all three disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping will compete at London that runs from the last week of July into the second week of August.

Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA will field full teams in all three disciplines.

The individual placings are awarded to the National Olympic Committee and not the actual individuals.

However,  Japan’s Hiroshi Hoketsu as become an icon in horse sports and it is hard to imagine Japan would choose any rider other than him as he acquired the qualifying scores.

He was 23 years old when he rode in jumping in his first Olympics in Tokyo in 1964 and competed in his second Olympics, in dressage at the Beijing Games in 2008, the oldest athlete in the entire competition.

He will ride Whisper 115, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Wolkenstein II x Gotik x Grenadier), in London as he did four years ago when he finished ninth in the team compettion and 35th in individual.

The complete official qualification lists: London 2012 Olympic Games-list of qualified nations-2March2012