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Japan makes Olympic eventing lineup

September 13, 2011

Japan's eventing team is celebrating after beating Australia in the London 2012 Eventing Team Qualifier for Asia-Pacific at the Blenheim Horse Trials at the weekend.

Japan's eventing team secured the country qualification for London 2012. © Fiona Scott-Maxwell/FEI
Japan is the ninth nation to qualify for team eventing at London 2012.

Five countries secured their Olympic participation at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 in Kentucky: Canada, New Zealand, USA, Germany, and Belgium.

France and Sweden qualified as a result of their placings in the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships 2011 team competition.

They will all be joining host nation Great Britain.

Japan fielded five riders, but their first, Yoshiaki Oiwa, was eliminated with a cross country fall.

Australia became vulnerable after Lucinda Fredericks fell on the cross country and Bill Levett had a run-out, but the Australian their problems worsened when Brook Staples was eliminated for two refusals in the jumping phase.

Japanese riders Kenki Sato, Takeaki Tsuchiya and Atsushi Negishi all went clear and, at the end of cross country day, Japan had a four-penalty lead over Australia.

Japan's best-placed rider, Kenki Sato, who was 16th overall in the CCI*** at Blenheim on Chippieh, said: "It's a miracle. This is a dream come true for our country, and for my family, to qualify for the Olympics and go to Greenwich. I owe everything to my horse, and to Michael Jung (the German world champion with whom he is based) who trains me."

The two best placed teams at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico (14 - 29 October) from Olympic Groups D (North America) and E (Central and South America), excluding the USA and Canada, will secure participation in London.

A total of 11 nations qualify directly for the 2012 Olympic Eventing competition through team competitions at FEI Championships.

However, the total number of nations participating in the team competition in London may exceed 11 since additional composite teams made up of a maximum of five athletes and five horses and a minimum of three athletes and three horses from the same nation may qualify through the FEI Olympic Athletes Rankings.

Australia can still qualify for London 2012 as a composite team - where a minimum of three and a maximum of five athletes from the same country qualify as individuals, having failed to qualify as a team.



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