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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Cross country brings Aussies unstuck at world championships

ABOVE: Hazel Shannon in action at the world championships. Picture: KIRSTY PASTO

AUSTRALIA has finished well out of the placings in 10th position at the World Eventing Championships at Pratoni in Italy.

Wayne Roycroft, who was the national eventing coach from 1988 to 2010 and won four team and two individual medals in the sport during his reign, described the result as “not a great one for us”.

He remained upbeat though.

“We have had results like that before and recovered well,” he said.

The team looked great on paper and included three members of the silver-medal winning team from Tokyo.

Lining up was Andrew Hoy, Shane Rose and Keven McNab, with young blood Hazel Shannon to add to the mix. There was also the young individual rider Shanae Lowings.

Fifth place for the team after dressage wasn’t so bad, as we had outstanding cross-country horses and, usually, that’s where we shine. Shane Rose led the way in his usual workman-like fashion.

Hazel Shannon’s round was also good but then the wheels fell off.

ABOVE: Shane Rose. Picture: LIBBY LAW

Keven McNab had an unbelievable equipment failure when a piece of gear broke and left him with one rein. The minute it took him to fix the problem, and the 20 penalties given for a refusal, was unlucky and disastrous.

Then Andrew Hoy’s Vassily de Lassos, known to not have a jumping fault in three years of top-level competition, scored two refusals and time faults.

The team dropped to 10th place, practically unheard of for an Australian team.

The showjumping didn’t improve matters, although to be fair, the course challenged all riders and just five riders jumped clear from 43 starters and none of them were ours.

We stayed in 10th place, with Germany taking the gold team medal ahead of the US and New Zealand.

The individual gold went to Britain’s Yasmin Ingham, with Julia Krajewski from Germany silver and the ever-consistent Tim Price from New Zealand taking bronze.

Our highest-placed Australian was Shane Rose at 13th. Shanae Lowings was 29th with Hazel Shannon 39th, Kevin Mc Nab 47th and Andrew Hoy, 54th.

The 10th placing means Australia is not yet qualified for the Paris Olympics in 2024 and will have to attend a regional qualifier next year.

The two highest placed teams from a Group F (Africa /Middle East) and Group G (SE Asia/Oceania) will qualify.

Time is fairly tight and for a regional qualifier. It needs three nations and in Group G that’s probably Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand is already qualified.

There will need to be some solid planning if we are to have a team at Paris.

ABOVE: Andrew Hoy experienced trouble on the cross country course. Picture: LIBBY LAW

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