Olympic horse substitution rule activated for first time ahead of dressage team final

  • Spain has become the first nation to invoke the in-competition Olympic horse substitution rule at the Tokyo Games with a horse swap ahead of the Olympic dressage team final.

    The team dressage medals are decided based on the scores of the grand prix special today (27 July).

    José Antonio García Mena, who rode Sorento 15 in the grand prix and scored 69.15%, will now ride Divina Royal in the team final. Tokyo will be the first senior championships for the 11-year-old Desperados mare, owned by Jose Ignacio Diaz Bravo.

    Spain finished eighth as a team in the grand prix, which does not count for medals but rather served as a qualifier for the team and individual finals. The top eight teams – including Spain – qualified for the team final today. All scores are now re-set to zero and José joins teammates Severo Jurado (Fendi T) and Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (Elegance) in their quest for team glory.

    José had not qualified for the individual final aboard Sorento 15 – and even if he had, he would not be allowed to ride a different horse to contest the individual medals. Beatriz is the sole Spanish ride to have qualified for the individual finals, the grand prix freestyle, which take place tomorrow (Wednesday, 28 July).

    How do substitutions work?

    Under the new Olympic rules, substitutions are only allowed for veterinary or medical reasons.

    Substitutions can only be made for the team competition, up to two hours before the team final, and nations are allowed to substitute a maximum of one horse/rider combination during the event.

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