Aust jumpers get Olympic nod to ride as individuals

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Edwina Tops-Alexander pictured at the 2016 Rio Games.
Edwina Tops-Alexander pictured at the 2016 Rio Games. © AOC

Australian showjumpers Edwina Tops-Alexander and Katie Laurie are being allowed to compete in the individual jumping competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The pair had been part of a three-person team with Jamie Kermond, who was provisionally suspended this week after returning a positive test for cocaine. The team’s reserve member, Rowan Willis, had already withdrawn.

Late yesterday, the Australian Olympic Committee was informed that the pair will be permitted to compete as individuals.

The decision means Australia is now fielding two individuals for the event, whereas 15 other countries have one individual representative. There will be 19 countries competing for team honours.

Australia’s Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman welcomed the decision to allow the pair to compete.

“We are thrilled with the outcome for our remaining two Jumping athletes, who have been anxiously awaiting confirmation regarding their participation at the Games.

“Edwina and Katie have both worked extremely hard to earn their place on the Australian team and we are delighted they will get the opportunity to realise their Olympic aspirations in the arena at Tokyo.”

Tokyo 2020 will be the fourth Olympics for Tops-Alexander, and the second for Laurie (formerly McVean), who rode for New Zealand at Beijing in 2008. They will arrive in Tokyo on Wednesday, July 28, as scheduled. Laurie was selected with Casebrooke Lomond, and Tops-Alexander with Indentity Vitseroel.

“I’m very happy about the outcome for myself and Katie Laurie to be able compete as individuals in Tokyo. I’m proud and I look forward to representing Australia. I will absolutely give it my utmost best,” Tops-Alexander said.

Laurie will be making her Australian Olympic debut in Tokyo.

“Words cannot describe the feeling of hearing that Edwina and I could both go as individuals. It’s been a rollercoaster but we are ready and so excited to get to Tokyo,” Laurie said.

The first individual competition takes place on Tuesday, August 3, and is a qualifier for the individual final the following day. It will be Table A not against the clock and without a jump-off. Athletes will place according to their penalties and in case of a tie, they will be separated by the time of their round. If still tied, they will be placed equal.

The Individual Final is open to the 30 best-placed athletes from the first individual competition and will be Table A, one round against the clock, with a jump-off for the medal placings if there is a tie on penalties.

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