The French eventing team has suffered a heavy blow with the news that star combination Tom Carlile and Birmane have withdrawn from the Olympics. The mare has shown signs of tying up after working on the gallops in Tokyo during pre-competition training.
“It’s no secret she has suffered from this muscle problem in the past, but for more than two seasons we’ve managed it perfectly to get her ready for the Olympics. We feel inconsolable to see the dream slip away from our fingertips,” said Tom, who added that, despite measures taken by the organisers, Birmane was unable to acclimatise to the conditions in Japan.
“She will come home healthy once her friends have taken part in the Games and we hope to see her at the top of the podium again soon.”
Birmane, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare who belongs to Gérard Brescon of the SCEA de Beliard, was second in the CCI4*-L at Saumur earlier this year. Although she is young, she had frequently posted mid-20s dressage scores which would have left her well in contention for an individual medal.
Alternate Karim Laghouag will now join the French team with Triton Fontaine, owned by Philippe Lemoine, Guy Bessat, S.A.R.L. Team Karim Laghouag and Camille Laffite.
The withdrawal of Tom and Birmane is a second knock for the French team. Earlier this month, Thibaut Vallette had to pull out his Rio 2016 team gold medallist Qing Du Briot Ifce with an injury. They were replaced in the team by Christopher Six (Totem De Brecy).
The French team now consists of Christopher, Karim and Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold HDC). They will not have an alternate available to substitute into the competition.
The competition gets underway on Friday 30 July, following the first vet inspection on Thursday 29 July.
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