OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Hester heads for final

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

GERMANY extended their long reign as Olympic champions in dressage yesterday when they received the team gold medals after another sweltering day at the Barcelona Polo Club. The Netherlands and the United States took silver and bronze while Britain were gradually nudged down to finish in seventh place.

The four young Britons Emile Faurie, Carl Hester, Laura Fry and Carol Parsons are all new to the Olympics and though their final placing was disappointing, there were encouraging aspects. They finished only 15 marks behind the Swedes, who were in fourth place, and they were in much closer contention than the older British team, who were a distant 10th in Seoul four years ago.

Hester, 25, who rode his test on Giorgione on Sunday, finished 17th at the end of the two days and he will be among the 16 to contest tomorrow's individual final, in which only three Germans are allowed to take part. Faurie, on Virtu, missed the chance to join him by four places.

Fry on Quarryman (29th) and Parsons on Vashkar (33rd) are still striving to get marks in the 1500s for the Grand Prix. Fry, the British national champion whose selection caused such a stir when she was given preference over Jennie Loriston-Clarke for team selection, was closer to the target with 1,486 points.

Tomorrow's contest will be a close tussle between the two young German women, Nicole Uphoff, the defending Olympic champion, and Isabell Werth, who holds the European title.

Uphoff had the advantage at the end of the team competition with Rembrandt, whose elegant movements blend together to form an impression of lightness and harmony. Werth, who was only six points behind, has a more powerful mount in Gigolo, who may be favoured by the more difficult Grand Prix Special test tomorrow.

Britain have been drawn 15th of the 20 countries that will be in contention for team showjumping medals, which will be presented this evening after a marathon contest that is expected to last 10 hours. The British quartet Nick Skelton, Tim Grubb, Michael Whitaker and his brother John were tipped as likely winners by Ludger Beerbaum, who rides for the German team.