Cook's long wait for glory ends with bronze double

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The Independent Online

After believing her hopes of competing in an Olympic Games had ended eight years ago, Great Britain's Tina Cook made the most of her second opportunity to win an individual bronze medal at the first attempt in Hong Kong yesterday.

It was a fairytale ending for the 37-year-old from Sussex after she had earlier helped Britain claim bronze in team eventing, although her success did not come easy.

Having started the individual final tied for sixth, Cook, on Miners Frolic, jumped a clear round for the second time in a day but needed at least four of the remaining six riders to pick up fence penalties if she was to move into the medal positions.

The Australian Clayton Fredericks, on Ben Along Time, knocked over one fence to pick up four penalty points before Germany's Andreas Dibowski, on Butts Leon, also hit a fence meaning Cook moved up to fifth.

The American Gina Miles cleared all the fences on McKinlaigh but Megan Jones of Australia and Germany's Ingrid Klimke both incurred four penalty points to drop down the standings. Hinrich Romeike then produced a clear round meaning the German retained first place and the gold medal while Miles took silver and Cook bronze. Also competing in the individual final were Britain's Mary King and William Fox-Pitt and they finished 11th and 12th respectively.

The medal-winning success was all the more emotional for Cook who had believed her only Olympic chance passed her by when she was reserve for Britain in 2000 at the Sydney Games.

"I have waited a while," she said. "I went to Sydney as reserve which was a fantastic experience but also a frustrating one. I was slightly wishing one of my fellow competitors might get a bruise and give me the opportunity to compete, but they didn't. I got the opportunity here and the horse went very well in all three phases and for a young horse I am very proud of him."

Earlier, Cook, along with her fellow British eventers Daisy Dick, Sharon Hunt, King and Fox-Pitt won team bronze, completing the three-day event with 185.70 penalty points.

Germany won gold with 166.10 points while Australia, who had started the competition with a strong performance in dressage, took silver. "I expected a team gold but not an individual gold," said Romeike. "My horse [Marius] means everything to me, I would be nothing without him."

Ireland's team of Patricia Ryan, Niall Griffin, Geoffrey Curran, Louise Lyons and Austin O'Connor finished eighth with 276.10 points. O'Connor, on Hobby Du Mee, was the only member of the team to complete the jumping phase with a clear round, meaning he progressed to individual jumping final. There the Mallow native again cleared all fences to finish 22nd overall.

"It was brilliant," said O' Connor. "He [Hobby Du Mee] has never jumped two rounds like that. He is an out and out jumper."