Equestrianism: Schroder shines as Netherlands hold off rivals to claim title

The Netherlands gained their first world championship medal in the electric atmosphere of the huge arena under floodlights here last night, doggedly holding on to their overnight advantage at the World Equestrian Games to win the title from the United States and Germany. Some 46,000 spectators were gripped by a contest that produced some of the best jumping you could wish to see, notably from Gerco Schroder on Eurocommerce Berlin who sealed the Dutch victory with a stylish clear in the final round.

British hopes of finishing among the top five and so achieving Olympic qualification were kindled with Michael Whitaker's single time fault on Portofino before being extinguished as other teams collected fewer than the nine faults incurred by Tim Gredley on Omelli and the five from both Nick Skelton on Russel and John Whitaker on Peppermill.

In the end Britain slipped a place to finish ninth, but they put up a much stronger performance than at Jerez in Spain at the last World Games where they finished 16th They will have another chance of Olympic qualification at the European Championships in Germany next August.

Beezie Madden of the United States and the bay gelding Authenticwill go into tomorrow's two rounds with an individual lead over Schroder and Germany's Ludger Beerbaum on L'Espoir as the top 25 riders fight for one of four places in the horse-swapping final on Sunday. Only Michael Whitaker, lying 14th will be vying for a place for Britain.

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