Law wins individual silver but rues a 'day of farce'

Leslie Law added individual silver to team bronze last night as Great Britain's three-day eventers weighed in with two medals on what Law later desbribed as a "day of farce" at the Markopoulo Equestrian Centre.

Leslie Law added individual silver to team bronze last night as Great Britain's three-day eventers weighed in with two medals on what Law later desbribed as a "day of farce" at the Markopoulo Equestrian Centre.

Law's clear round briefly put him in the gold medal position but he was overhauled by the Gloucestershire-based German Bettina Hoy.

Riding Shear L'Eau, Law feared he could drop to bronze and had an anxious wait while France's Nicolas Touzaint had his final round in which he hit a host of fences and slipped from potential gold medallist to ninth place.

Earlier, Britain's three-day event team - consisting of Law, Pippa Funnell, Jeanette Brakewell and Mary King - looked to have bagged a bronze, but then found themselves upgraded to a silver when the winning German team were penalised for Hoy crossing the start line twice.

Then Team GB sank back down to bronze again after a successful German appeal.

In a further twist to the saga, a counter-appeal is expected to be lodged today by the British and French team officials.

The Olympic eventing appeal committee upheld Germany's appeal yesterday evening against the decision to hand Hoy 14 time penalty points.

The British team thought they had been handed silver on a plate after the judges earlier decided Hoy had breached event rules by circling the start area twice.

That had knocked the Germans from gold to fourth place and pushed Team GB's riders up to second place behind France. But the German eventing federation successfully appealed the ruling.

A statement handed to the media read: "The appeal committee considered the appeal of the German federation against the time penalties awarded to Bettina Hoy during the eventing team jumping competition.

"The committee concluded that the countdown had been restarted resulting in a clear injustice to the rider concerned."

In the individual competition, Hoy - riding Ringwood Cockatoo - finished first with a total of 41.609 penalty points; Law won the silver and Kim Severson of the United States, riding Winsome Adante, took the bronze.

Pippa Funnell had also looked like a British medal prospect until she dislodged a fence in her final round.

Law later described the appeals procedure at last night's finale to the three-day eventing as "a farce" after Team GB saw bronze turn to silver and back to bronze again.

But as Hoy was composing herself to capture individual gold, ahead of Law, and again even as the medal ceremony was taking place, officials from the British, French and American Olympic associations were investigating the lodging of a counter-appeal.

A bemused Law - who would be a beneficiaryif any such counter-appeal was to prove successful - said: "It's a farce the way things have happened today."

The three-day event, equestrian's equivalent of the decathlon, was originally devised as a way to test cavalry horses - and there was a war-like mood in several camps last night.

The French team director, Olivier Le Page, vowed: "We will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] because it was a wrong decision of the appeals committee."

"I've got the authorization of the French Federation and Olympic Committee," Lepage said. "We are going to do it with the American and British federations. If we are three, it's going to have more weight."

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