Can Britain’s show jumpers snatch an individual medal?

  • Nick Skelton and Robert Smith begin their bid for individual show jumping medals in Athens on Sunday, with the first qualifier due to take place in the morning.

    Britain failed to qualify for the team event, for which many believe that Germany are the favourites, although the loss of Marcus Ehning at the last minute because of injury to his ride For Pleasure could hinder their chances somewhat.

    Their campaign will hinge on the experienced Otto Becker, who faces his third Olympics, and Ludger Beerbaum, who competes in the Olympics for the fifth time. He has already collected four gold medals, including an individual Gold medal, and his ride Goldfever was part of Germany’s gold-medal winning team in Sydney.

    But neither the French nor the Americans are likely to take defeat lying down, especially in light of the controversy surrounding the eventing medals. France are leading contenders, with reigning world champion Bruno Broucqsault with his world championship ride Dileme de Cephe, and Eugenie Angot, who shadowed Broucqsault into fourth place in Milan earlier this year.

    Britain is in with a chance for an individual medal, as long as Arko does not try a repeat of his Dublin incident, when he shocked connections by stalling during the Grand Prix class.

    The stallion is said to be back on top form however, and with the exception of this minor blip, has a fabulously consistent record, with three double clears so far in the Samsung Super League series, as well as carrying Skelton to victory at the British Open Champions in April.

    Robert Smith, too, has shown some impressive form recently, and if he can sustain the level of accuracy that he produced with Mr Springfield at Hickstead last month, will be in with a very decent chance of a medal on his Olympic debut.