Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Sunrise of the Netherlands, the reigning European team gold and individual bronze medallists, are out of the individual grand prix special contest at the Olympics.

The 14-year-old mare, Sunrise, runner-up in the 2007 World Cup final, was found to be lame after the medal ceremony on Thursday night.

“I can’t believe it,” said an emotional Imke, who was lying in fifth place individually after the team contest and who was considered a medal contender with her 2007 World Cup final runner-up.

“The injury must have developed during the team competition. Before that she was 100% in order. But afterwards we noticed a small problem that could well develop into something bigger and could harm the horse. This is the last thing I would want.”

Imke’s withdrawal allowed in a second Australian competitor, Hayley Beresford riding the Lusitano Relampago, which is the first time the nation has had two competitors through to the individual competition.

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