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London 2012 Olympics qualifying: Equestrian

SHOW JUMPING
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How qualification works:

KEY DATES: SHOW JUMPING
OCTOBER 2010
Qualification began at World Equestrian Games
1 JANUARY 2011
Results from this point onwards count towards Olympic rankings
13-18 SEPTEMBER 2011
European Show Jumping in Madrid, Spain
1 MARCH 2012
Olympic rankings published, used to allocate remaining qualification places

There are two show jumping events at the Games - the team and individual competitions - featuring 75 athletes in total.

Qualification for 2012 depends on geography, with world governing body the FEI dividing the planet into seven areas.

The five best teams from the 2010 World Equestrian Games, which took place in the American state of Kentucky, automatically qualified - Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France and Germany.

Australia also qualified as the best team at the World Equestrian Games from an area the FEI defines as "Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South-East Asia and Oceania".

Next to qualify will be the three best teams from both the 2011 European Jumping Championships (in Windsor, UK, in August) and the 2011 Pan-American Games.

The best African or Middle Eastern team, once results from the World Equestrian Games and a 2011 Qualifying Tournament have been combined, will also go through.

One further place remains for the best team from the same area at the aforementioned 2011 Qualifying Tournament. This, plus a place for Britain as the hosts, provides the Olympics with a 15-team tournament.

Members of the qualified teams automatically gain entry to the individual event, with 15 more places reserved for individuals who do not reach the Olympics as part of a team.

Ben Maher
Ben Maher is currently Britain's top show jumper

Five of those places, for athletes from Europe and Central Asia, are decided according to show jumping's world rankings as of 1 March 2012.

Five more are offered to the countries producing the best-ranked athletes at the 2011 Pan-American Games (who have not otherwise qualified), with three additional places - from Africa, the Middle East, South-East Asia and Oceania - settled according to performances at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Finally, two more individuals from Africa, the Middle East, South-East Asia and Oceania will qualify at a separate Olympic Qualification event.

The rankings used to determine some elements of qualification run from 1 January, 2011 to 1 March, 2012.

Importantly, the 15 additional places for individuals not qualified as part of teams are awarded not to the athletes who earn them, but the countries they represent.

Nations can award their place(s) to other competitors from the same country if they wish.

How are British competitors doing?

British show jumping is competitive and GB will expect to challenge for a medal in 2012, but reaching the podium is by no means a certainty.

Ben Maher, who competed at Beijing 2008, is Britain's best-ranked jumper but had slipped from 21st to 29th in the world by the end of 2010.

Guy Williams is next in the rankings in 36th place, with Ellen Whitaker 47th.

Britain is entitled to a three-person team at the Olympics as the host nation, and will undoubtedly field one.

DRESSAGE
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We're all ready to go, says Bechtolsheimer

How qualification works:

KEY DATES: DRESSAGE
OCTOBER 2010
Qualification began at World Equestrian Games
1 MARCH 2011
Results from this point onwards count towards Olympic rankings
18-21 AUGUST 2011
European Championships in the Netherlands
1 MARCH 2012
Olympic rankings published, used to allocate remaining qualification places

Dressage, like jumping, offers a team and individual competition for a total of 50 riders.

Team qualification saw the best three teams from the 2010 World Equestrian Games waved through, in the shape of Germany, the Netherlandsand the United States, to be joined by the best three teams from the 2011 European Championships and the best two from the Pan-American Games of the same year.

Two more teams go through from a 2011 Asia-Pacific Championships, with Britain guaranteed a team as the host nation, giving a total of 11 teams for the Games.

However, that number may expand with the addition of "composite" teams - those where three athletes from the same country qualify as individuals, having failed to qualify as a team.

Individual qualification relies on the FEI's dressage world rankings as of 1 March 2012.

The FEI divides the world into seven zones for the purposes of Olympic qualification: North-West Europe, South-West Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East, and South-East Asia and Oceania.

The top nation from each of those seven regions according to the rankings, once nations who have already qualified teams are stripped out, earns a place for an individual at the Games.

Then, the FEI goes down the ranking list taking every available athlete yet to qualify, in order, until the full quota of 50 athletes for the Games is reached.

Nations who qualified three riders as part of team qualification may add a fourth through individual qualification, four being the national limit.

How are British competitors doing?

Laura Bechtolsheimer will be Britain's main hope of a dressage medal at London 2012.

Bechtolsheimer finished 17th at Beijing 2008 but is ranked third in the world (as of January 2011) and should present a strong challenge at her home Olympics.

Britain is guaranteed a team at London 2012 and will expect to send a full quota to the Games.

EVENTING
William Fox-Pitt
William Fox-Pitt on Seacookie at Burghley 2010

How qualification works:

KEY DATES: EVENTING
OCTOBER 2010
Qualification began at World Equestrian Games
1 MARCH 2011
Results from this point onwards count towards Olympic rankings
25-28 AUGUST 2011
European Championships in Germany
1 MARCH 2012
Olympic rankings published, used to allocate remaining qualification places

Eventing, like dressage and jumping, offers two Olympic titles in the individual and team disciplines.

Team qualification allows a country to qualify a minimum of three athletes and horses, up to a maximum of five.

The quickest way to do this was to be one of the top five teams at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, in Kentucky. Nations to qualify via this avenue were Belgium, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United States.

They will be joined by the two best teams from the 2011 European Championships and the top two teams from the Pan-American Championships of the same year, plus the highest-placed team from an Asia-Pacific tournament to be arranged.

This qualifies 10 teams which, in addition to the host nation, creates a minimum of 11 for the Olympic event. However, as per dressage, "composite" teams may be formed (see above).

Individual qualification operates in identical fashion to that for dressage.

Once again, the seven FEI zones of the world come into play: North-West Europe, South-West Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East, and South-East Asia and Oceania.

The top nation from each of those seven regions according to the world eventing rankings, once nations who have already qualified teams are stripped out, earns a place for an individual at the Games.

Then, the FEI goes down the ranking list taking every available athlete yet to qualify, in order, until the full quota of 75 athletes for the Games is reached.

The ranking list used to decide each place is published on 1 March, 2012, and takes into account events between 1 March, 2011 and that date.

How are British competitors doing?

Britain has the right to enter a team for the eventing without qualifying.

Eventing is shaping up to be Britain's best medal bet when it comes to equestrian sport.

It was eventing in which GB's only two equestrian medals of the Beijing Games were won, by Tina Cook (individual bronze) and Britain (team bronze), and Britain took team gold at the 2010 World Equestrian Games - which would have qualified them for London at the earliest opportunity, had they not been guaranteed a place as the host nation.

Hopes are high for medal-winning performances on home soil in 2012, with British duo William Fox-Pitt and Mary King ranked first and second in the world as of January 2011.

At the time of writing, seven of the world's top 20 eventers were British.



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see also
Equestrian sport on the BBC
05 Sep 07 |  Equestrian


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