Dressage: Dujardin puts GB in gold position


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The Independent Online

Charlotte Dujardin continued her remarkable rise to the top of world dressage yesterday by putting Great Britain in team gold medal position and smashing an Olympic record.

The 26-year-old's breathtaking Olympic debut with Valegro gained a standing ovation from a capacity 23,000 crowd at Greenwich Park.

Dujardin's grand prix score of 83.66 per cent was more than four points better than the previous Olympic best of Germany's Kristina Sprehe, which stood for just two hours.

The team competition resumes next Tuesday with the grand prix special test, in which Dujardin is the world record holder. Great Britain have never won an Olympic dressage medal.

Their team score stands at 79.40 per cent, the average mark of Dujardin and her team-mates Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer. It is 0.56 above Germany, with the Netherlands (76.80) third.

Dujardin, who took up competition less than two years ago, said: "It is an amazing opportunity to ride here, and I wanted to enjoy it.

"I would hate to have gone in there, put too much pressure on myself and made mistakes. I just wanted to go in and do what I do normally and have fun. Having the crowd behind me like that was amazing.

"I was hoping for an 80 per cent score, so to smash that is a little bit crazy, but I had such fun. It was such a buzz, I can't tell you. I just wanted to get in there and do my piece."