1 Aug 2012

Equestrian team win first medal for NZ

5:43 am on 1 August 2012

New Zealand is on the medals board at the London Olympics after the equestrian team won bronze in the three-day event.

A consistently strong Germany won gold with a combined penalty points total from its top three riders of 133.70, while Great Britain had to settle for silver with 138.20 penalties after the showjumping round at Greenwich Park on Tuesday.

The New Zealand team, led by veteran riders Andrew Nicholson and Mark Todd, were third on 144.40 points after overtaking Sweden in an event that also includes dressage and cross-country.

The other members of the New Zealand team were Jock Paget, Caroline Powell and Jonelle Richards.

The top 25 riders, including Nicholson, Todd and Paget, later in the day competed in the second round of showjumping to compete for the individual title, but there was no success there for the New Zealanders.

Germany's Michael Jung won that gold, while teammate Sandra Auffarth took bronze. Sara Algotsson Ostholt from Sweden won the silver.

Andew Nicholson riding Nereo had cleared all the hurdles in the first round to qualify for the second round in sixth place with the 45 penalty points incurred in the cross-country. However, he was edged out of the medals, placing fourth.

Todd on Campino knocked over one rail in the first round of showjumping and finished slightly over the allotted time to incur 7 penalty points going into the second round, before finishing in 12th place.

Paget on Clifton Promise also knocked over one rail, but finished within time to claim 13th place going into the second round and eventually finished 10th.

Andrew Nicholson, 51, and Mark Todd, 56, are competing at their seventh Games and have now won eight Olympic medals between them.

Todd won New Zealand's first Olympic medal with a gold in Los Angeles in 1984 and Tuesday's win is his fifth medal at a Games, while Nicholson has won three team medals.

Todd said on Tuesday it was always an honour to win any medal at an Olympics, although Nicholson remained disappointed that his performance in the dressage was hindered by a rain delay.