Leading British Olympic contender ruled out after breaking ankle in fall

  • Great Britain’s Olympic short-listed rider William Funnell has been ruled out of the showjumping at the Tokyo Olympics after breaking his ankle in a fall during the Nations Cup of Sopot, Poland, yesterday (20 June).

    During the second round of the team competition, the Surrey rider and his home-bred Equine America Billy Diamo uncharacteristically crashed through the oxer at fence five. William was unseated and stretchered out of the arena with what turned out to be a broken ankle.

    This ends all hopes William had of being picked to ride for Great Britain at his first ever Olympic Games.

    “I’m 100% out — I reckon I’ll be out for about three months as I’ve been told they have to operate on it,” William told H&H.

    “I went to a Polish hospital after the fall and was told that they’d have to operate and I’d have to have it plastered right up to my thigh. I wasn’t too keen on that idea, so I got them to plaster it up temporarily and got on a plane back to England.

    “I went to Guildford hospital last night [Sunday] and they said it’s stabilised but I definitely need to have it operated on, so I’m probably going to have to wait up to a week for that after I’ve done my two days’ quarantine.”

    Continues below…

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    Billy Diamo had been jumping superbly throughout the five-star show, finishing with just four faults in Friday’s grand prix then jumping clear in round one of the Nations Cup. However, in soaring temperatures, William said he could feel the chestnut was struggling slightly in round two.

    “He was super in the first round,” said William. “But it was 35 degrees and he’s a big horse and he felt like a completely different horse when I cantered in the ring second time around. He was just empty.

    “I’ll be doing well to be back riding again within three months. So it’s devastating — but you just have to get on with stuff don’t you? I can say I nearly got to the Olympics!”

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