The final day of the FEI Showjumping European Championships saw two British riders forward to represent Britain in the individual competition, 18 September 2011. There was drama to the last as Nick Skelton clinched further honours for Team GBR adding individual bronze to the team bronze medal won on Friday.
Having jumped superbly all week with Beverley Widdowson’s eye catching grey gelding Carlo, Nick had just one unlucky fence down in each round to post a final score of 9.04. With three riders left to jump the pressure was on to see who could hold their nerve and take a medal. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson for Sweden added a single time fault to his first round clear to close on 6.77 whilst Carsten-Otto Nagel for Germany chalked up four faults for a score of 8.69 to put them both ahead of Nick. With a fence in-hand only Gerco Schröder for the Netherlands could deny Britain an individual medal. In an agonising repeat of the events that lost the Dutch the team competition on Friday, Schröder clocked up his first faults of the week onboard Eurocommerce New Orleans . Two fences down dropped the unlucky Dutchman out of the medals to finish fourth on 9.54.
So it was gold for the Swedes, silver for Germany and bronze for Britain ’s Nick Skelton, adding another individual medal to his illustrious career; Nick has represented Great Britain at six previous Europeans and took individual bronze at the Championships in 1987.
British team mate Ben Maher also proved his talented ride, the young stallion Tripple X III who he co-owns with the Quainton Stud, one to watch for 2012. The combination wrapped up their competition in a respectable 12th place with a score of 15.76 after incurring one down in the first round and just a single time fault in the second.
Equestrian Performance Director Will Connell commented: “Nick’s bronze medal on Carlo is very well deserved; this is a young horse who demonstrates all the potential to win more medals in the future and rounds off an outstanding summer for Equestr ian Team GBR.”
We believe this is the first year we’ve medaled in all three Olympic and one Paralympic discipline. Add to this the success of the Eccles family in vaulting and it’s been a very good year.
Nick must be feeling very positive about 2012 with his ride Big Star also proving himself to be a real championship contender for the future. The team have really pulled together this week and once again demonstrated that a positive environment within the team produces medals. Their success is down to the support from our owners, the dedication of the grooms and the skills of our support staff all of which is underpinned by funding from the Lottery and Exchequer through UK Sport.”
Final Individual Standings
Gold: Rolf-Göran Bengtsson/ Ninja La Silla, SWE 6.77
Silver: Carsten-Otto Nagel/Corradina, GER 8.69
Bronze: Nick Skelton/Carlo, GBR 9.04
12th: Ben Maher/Tripple X III, GBR 15.76