TOKYO (Reuters) – German world number one Isabell Werth and her two team mates topped each of their three groups at the Olympic equestrian dressage qualifiers on Sunday to make Tuesday’s team final ahead of Britain and Denmark.
Team dressage medals will be awarded on Tuesday and individual dressage medals on Wednesday, with the three countries strong contenders in both.
“It’s always very important that you have a strong field and that you have strong competitors because then you push each other to top performances,” Werth said when asked about the rivalry between Germany and Britain.
Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, the reigning Olympian individual dressage champion who celebrated some of her biggest wins on her now-retired horse Valegro, competed on her new horse Gio.
“I could not have asked any more of him tonight, he went in and tried his absolute heart out,” Dujardin told reporters.
“When you have a ride like that, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, that’s what it’s all about for me going in there and you know when you had that ride where you know you’ve had everything and he did that for me tonight.”
The Netherlands, which also qualified for the team finals, competed in bright orange tailcoats, making the most of a recent rule change to allow such colourful attire at major events.
Sweden, led by sisters Antonia and Juliette Ramel, also made the final along with the United States, Portugal and Spain.
(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla, editing by Ed Osmond)