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EQUESTRIAN: Fox-Pitt feels the pain for the team
5:20pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in Sport
WILLIAM Fox-Pitt made no attempt to mask the disappointment of Great Britain’s worst team result for 20 years at the FEI European Eventing Championships.
Although world number two Fox-Pitt, from Sturminster Newton, won individual bronze, the team finished sixth behind defending champions Germany, host nation Sweden, France, Italy and Belgium.
“We came here with hopes to win a team medal, and naturally we are disappointed,” he said.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be part of strong teams for so long when things have gone right, but when you have two out of the four horses in the team having hiccups on the cross-country, your luck is not in.
“If you look at four years ago, you had all the Germans on the floor in Fontainebleau (European Championships) and then in Kentucky (World Equestrian Games 2010), and who would have thought that?
“The sport is becoming more technical and everyone is getting better and better, but these things go in cycles.
“They (Germany) will not be winning forever, and we will go away and focus on what we need to work on.”
Fox-Pitt’s bronze behind runaway winner and defending European champion Michael Jung – Jung’s German colleague Ingrid Klimke was second – gave the Dorset-based rider a 17th major championship medal.
But British team medal hopes had been destroyed during the cross-country phase 24 hours earlier after Pippa Funnell collected 40 penalties on Mirage d’Elle and Lucy Wiegersma was eliminated when she fell from Simon Porloe.
Although Fox-Pitt, riding Chilli Morning, and 2009 European individual champion Tina Cook on Miners Frolic then stylishly jumped clear inside the time, the damage had been done.
Germany won the team competition by a landslide margin of 17.8 penalties, finishing on 116.2 – 64.4 penalties clear of their perceived main rivals Britain – with Sweden posting 134, France 151.6, Italy 167 and Belgium 179.2.
Olympic and European champions Germany will now chase the 2014 world title in France, which Britain holds, and their current dominance was underlined by individual finishing positions in Malmo as four riders – Jung, Klimke, Peter Thomsen and Dirk Schrade – featured among the top six.
And 31-year-old Jung became the first eventer in history to land four successive major individual titles – World, European, Olympic and then European again.
He could even afford to have the first showjumping fence down on his back-up championship horse Halunke FBW and still win comfortably.
“My horse did a fantastic job,” Jung said. “He was wonderful in the dressage, and while I was a little bit nervous after the first fence today, he quickly settled.”
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