(Reuters) – Britain earned double eventing gold and an Olympic invitation for sweeping the team and individual competitions on Monday as action resumed at the storm hit FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, North Carolina.
After heavy rain from storm Florence, which hit the Carolina coast as a hurricane on Friday, washed out Sunday’s programme, competition resumed at the waterlogged Tryon International Equestrian Center with Britain enjoying a golden day.
Rosalind Canter riding Allstar B took individual gold in the three discipline eventing competition, while leading Britain to the top of the podium in the team event.
“There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible,” said Canter who was joined on the podium by Tom McEwen, Gemma Tattersall and Piggy French.
“In the back of my mind I did know (the team situation) but I was just focused on my horse and my warm-up. You have to try and block that out.”
It was an historic day for Ireland who took silver in the team event to secure the country’s first team medal at the WEG.
France, gold medallists at the Rio Olympics, had to settle for bronze followed by Japan in fourth
Padraig McCarthy riding Mr Chunky made it double silver for Ireland by finishing second in the individual eventing, with Germany’s Ingrid Klimke, twice a gold medallist in the team event, taking bronze.
“In a previous life I used to be a show jumper, so it gave me a lot of confidence,” said McCarthy. “I have dreamt about it for the last six months, at least. With a horse like this you have to dream big.”
Six of the top seven countries in the team eventing secured Olympic berths for the 2020 Tokyo Games with Britain, Ireland and France joined by Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
Fourth-placed Japan already had a guaranteed spot as Olympic hosts, opening the door for New Zealand who came into the WEG having won more eventing golds (five) than any other country.
Britain has now joined New Zealand, which has not won an eventing gold since 1998, at the top of the table with five.
(Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Ken Ferris)