‘Sense of relief’ for two nations as Paris Olympics slots secured at European Eventing Championships

  • Belgium and the Netherlands secured team spots at the Paris 2024 Olympics with their results at the European Eventing Championships (9 to 13 August).

    The nations finished seventh and eighth respectively, ahead of Italy and Austria which were also in the race for the two Olympic team places on offer at the Europeans.

    Watch Belgian rider Cyril Gavrilovic talk about the result

    Italy and Austria still have one remaining chance to qualify, via the FEI Nations Cup series. The final two team places will be allocated at the Pan American Games at the end of October.

    Belgian team pathfinder Cyril Gavrilovic, who finished 27th aboard the promising nine-year-old Elmundo De Gasco, told H&H Olympic qualification was “the objective in mind”.

    “We accomplished our objective, so we are really, really happy – and I’m really happy to have been here to do it,” he said.

    “That was my first senior championships. I did juniors and young riders, but nothing like this.”

    Cyril was joined by Lara De Liedekerke-Meier (Hermione D’Arville), Jarno Verwimp (Mahalia), and Karin Donckers (Fletcha Van ‘T Verahof) on the Belgian championship team responsible for bagging that crucial Paris ticket.

    He added: “We all know he is one of the best cross-country horses in Belgium, he has proved it a few times already. He is normally really quick across country, but on Saturday I felt something I’ve never felt before.”

    He explained how energy-sapping the horse found the ground, and how he nursed him home steadily to get back clear and safe, and a score on the board for the Belgian team.

    “I’m really proud of him, I think he is one of the best horses here,” he said.

    The Dutch team to pick up the other Paris 2024 place on offer was made up of Andrew Heffernan (Gideon), Janneke Boonzaaijer (Acsi Champ De Tailleur), Sanne De Jong (Enjoy) and Merel Blom-Hulsman (Vesuve D’Aveyron).

    British-based Andrew said they were “highly delighted” to net the Olympic team place.

    “Mission accomplished, as it were,” he said. “I felt a huge sense of relief that it’s happened and that we can put it to bed.”

    Horse & Hound has a team of reporters covering all the action at the Europeans in Haras du Pin. To keep reading on our website after five articles, readers will need to buy a subscription. Visit horseandhound.co.uk/join to buy a Horse & Hound website unlimited subscription or, for great value, visit magazinesdirect.com/XHH-brandsite for a combined magazine and website subscription. If you are already a magazine subscriber, the cost to upgrade your subscription to include full website access is minimal – call 0330 333 1113 to find out more.

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