Equestrianism: Pessoa passes the final exam

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The Independent Online
THE BRAZILIAN Rodrigo Pessoa compiled the top score to qualify for the individual show-jumping final at the World Equestrian Games here yesterday. He is assured of a place in today's final in which the top four riders compete on their own and each other's horses.

The other three qualifiers are Germany's Franke Sloothaak, the defending World Champion, Switzerland's Willi Melliger and the Frenchman Thierry Pomel, who had been in the lead yesterday until hitting a rail on the last fence in the second round.

Yesterday's competition was won by the Hungarian rider Joe Turi, who jumped two clear rounds without time faults over the big courses designed by Marcello Mastronardi. Turi, who rode for Britain, winning a European team gold in 1989, before returning to Hungary in 1995, was riding the eight-year-old Epona Superville, a horse owned jointly by him and Michael Bullman, Britain's chairman of selectors.

In second place was Ireland's Trevor Coyle and third was Ludger Beerbaum, Germany's 1992 Olympic Champion. They have not qualified for today's final because of cumulative penalties from the two previous competitions.

The only British rider to complete the two rounds of yesterday's competition was Di Lampard who was making her championship debut. Her performance in Thursday's Nations' Cup helped Britain gain the bronze medal, and yesterday she put up another creditable show to finish 12th.

John Whitaker was the only other British rider to compete in the individual competition. Both Geoff Billington and Nick Skelton withdrew their horses as they had little hope of qualifying for today's final.