Egyptian showjumping team books Olympic spot after 59 year break

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The Egyptian team won the Olympic Jumping qualifier in Morocco and earned one of the two places on offer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Egyptian team of Mohamed Taher Zeyada, Nayel Nassar, Abdel Said and Sameh El Dahan, pictured with Chef d’Equipe Eng Hesham Hatab, won the Group F Olympic Jumping qualifier at Rabat in Morocco and earned one of the two places on offer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. © FEI/Jessica Rodrigues

Egypt will field a showjumping team for an Olympic Games next year in Tokyo, for the first time in 59 years, after qualifying in Morocco at the weekend.

The Egyptian side of Mohamed Taher Zeyada, Nayel Nassar, Abdel Said and Sameh El Dahan won the Olympic Jumping qualifier at Rabat on Sunday, posting just four faults over two tough rounds of Nations Cup competition. They pinned Switzerland into second and Italy into third place. There were six countries from this region – Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – chasing down two available places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And it was the Qataris who booked the second slot when finishing eighth of the 14 competing nations.

The last time an Egyptian showjumping team competed at an Olympic Games was in Rome in 1960.

“It’s incredible!” said third-line rider Abdel Said who collected just a single time penalty in each round with Venise du Reverdy. “This has been a target for the last two years. We really wanted to qualify and we took a gamble with the team we sent to Barcelona (for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final two weeks ago) but it didn’t work out great. But we brought our “A” team here and this has happened – it’s unbelievable!” he added.

Said, who runs his own business in Antwerp, Belgium, sourcing and producing young horses and coaching riders while also competing, described his 10-year-old mare Venise as “a very raw and rough diamond who is only coming together over the last few months, but she is tough and has all the power in the world!” Maybe she will be the one who will take him to Tokyo. “It’s where we all want to get to, I’ve always dreamed of competing at the Olympic Games!“, he said.

Qatar’s 28-fault scoreline was good enough to earn the second Tokyo ticket. “Congratulations to all who helped us make it to the Olympics for a second time. We are very excited about it!”, Bassem Mohammed said.

“We competed in Rio (2016 Olympic Games) and now we go to Tokyo. It’s really important for us as riders, for the Federation and for the Olympic Committee of Qatar so we are really looking forward to it”, he added.

Michael Jung leads the German victory lap at the final leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup 2019 series in Boekelo, The Netherlands on Sunday, where Switzerland claimed the sole qualifying spot on offer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Michael Jung leads the German victory lap at the final leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup 2019 series in Boekelo, The Netherlands on Sunday, where Switzerland claimed the sole qualifying spot on offer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. © FEI/Libby Law

Swiss eventers book ticket to Tokyo

In the thrilling finale to the FEI Eventing Nations Cup 2019 series at Boekelo in The Netherlands on Sunday, Germany posted its fourth win of the season while league leaders Sweden held on to take the series title. But some of the biggest smiles were on Swiss faces when they pulled Olympic qualification out of the bag.

There were three teams in contention for the single ticket to Tokyo 2020, and Dutch hopes were dashed when they found themselves lying 11th of the 12 competing nations after Saturday’s cross-country phase. But Switzerland and Belgium slugged it out to the very end, with the final series rankings swinging the pendulum in favour of the Swiss.

The new Olympic format led to plenty of head-scratching during the four-day fixture at which the German team took command at the outset and never flinched.

The Olympic spot would be earned by the country lying highest of the unqualified nations in the final FEI Eventing Nations Cup 2019 standings. The Swiss lay third coming into this seventh and last leg, and their final total of 370 points left them well clear of the Belgians who completed with 355.

Germany held on for a convincing win on a final scoreline of 94.10, while two clears secured runner-up spot for Australia on a final tally of 123.50. Japan finished an impressive third, less than a single penalty point behind the Australians, and it is quite clear they will be a force to be reckoned with on home ground in Tokyo next summer. Fourth went to New Zealand (130.00) and fifth to Great Britain (143.00).

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