Olympics for Colombia Down to Wire After Missing Out Again on Qualifying Results
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ACHLEITEN, Austria, June 2–Colombia’s hopes of fulfilling the dream of its first ever Olympic team dimmed Saturday when the South American nation’s top Grand Prix combinations failed to earn any qualifying scores with just two opportunities left to get the two required minimum results.
In the Grand Prix for the Special, Maria Ines Garcia and Kupfermann scored 63.064 per cent, shy of the minium of 64 per cent that is required from two CDI3* or higher competitions to qualify to start in the Olympic dressage in London in exactly two months.
Marco Bernal, based in Wellington, Florida, and his Akzentus were awarded 58.745 per cent.
Constanza Jaramillo and Wakana, the Ulla Salzgeber-trained mare, received 54.510 per cent in the Grand Prix for the Freestyle a day earlier.
A fourth Colombian combination, Raul Corchuelo and Gusarapo, was entered at this competition but did not compete.
To start a team at London’s Greenwich Park, three combinations need to attain the minimum qualifying results at two shows.
None of the four combinations have yet obtained one qualifying result with only two shows remaining–Fritzens in Austria next week and Lipica in Slovakia the week after–the last opportunities to do so by the cutoff date of June 17.
Even if unable to field a team, success in qualifying one or two combinations would allow Colombia to nominate them as individuals.
Colombia qualified a team at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, last October, which was the last of the quadrennial regional championships where Olympic qualification was at small tour. Beginning with the next Pan Ams, in Toronto in 2015, qualification will be at Grand Prix level.
In a move to aid in the transition, the International Equestrian Federation’s Dressage Committee approved mixed teams beginning at small tour and moving up to Grand Prix in the first non-championship Nations Cups in the Western Hemisphere over three years. That would put qualifying in the Americas on the same level as the European Championships. The first of the events, at small tour, was held at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, in April with teams of small and big tour combinations planned for 2013 and at big tour in 2014.