A despondent Harry Charles – one of three British showjumpers through to the Olympic showjumping individual final at the Tokyo Games on Wednesday (4 August) – had plenty to reflect on after he made the decision to retire late on course as the faults began to accumulate.
He attributes his first penalties with Romeo 88, which came at the oxer at fence five, to an early “misunderstanding” and the pair never quite regained their rhythm thereafter.
“Over the first few fences I felt he started off a bit behind my leg and just never got the distance on the seven strides – it was just a misunderstanding and a bad outcome,” said Harry.
“But anyway, I’m delighted with the horse, what he’s done for me and how he’s come to the championship – and I’ve even got into the individual final. But it’s still quite hard to take.”
Harry Charles and Ann Thompson’s 12-year-old gelding Romeo 88 are a fairly new combination, with the 22-year-old Hampshire rider only taking the reins at the start of the year. The Olympic showjumping individual final in Tokyo was by far their biggest test.
“We are still learning about each other – the fences are absolutely massive and there’s absolutely no room for error,” said Harry. “So, it’s tough. I can’t believe how many clears there were, to be honest.”
When asked whether he’d spoken to his father Peter Charles, who was part of the Olympic gold medal-winning team in London 2012, Harry said: “I haven’t really spoken to my Dad but he’s as gutted as I am, I think the whole team are.”
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