Jones blow continues equestrian setbacks
|Jones blow continues equestrian setbacks - 27th Jul 2012|
|Australia's eventing team yesterday absorbed its second body blow in four days after replacement rider Megan Jones was forced to withdraw with a lame horse.|
Jones was called into the team on Sunday night to replace Beijing silver medallist Shane Rose, whose horse, Taurus, was ruled out with a soft tissue injury to its leg.
Jones, 35, had travelled to Britain with Rose at the start of the month and expressed simultaneous sadness and excitement at her earlier inclusion. ''I'm so upset for Shane … I've been there … it's hard. Now I'm focused and ready. By the looks [her horse] is ready to like'em,'' Jones said on Twitter on Wednesday.
The Adelaide Hills-raised rider's delight turned to devastation on Thursday morning when her horse, Allofasudden, went lame from a fore foot injury.
It is a major blow to Australia's medal chances in eventing, a discipline that has has produced six gold medals, two silver and two bronze for the country since the Rome Games in 1960.
Equestrian section manager Brett Mace said that while the withdrawals caused some disruption, they were part of the sport.
''The reality is this is the nature of our sport. Horses can sustain these injuries and before you know it, a sporting dream can come to an end,'' Mace said.
''Megan would have been an asset to the team and this has been a very difficult time for her and her support team. There is no doubt that losing two horses just prior to the start of our Olympic campaign is less than ideal.''
Sam Griffiths and his horse Happy Times were confirmed as Jones's replacement, subject to official approval.
''Sam comes into the team with strong, consistent performances and we're confident he'll contribute well to the overall team performance,'' Mace said.
''The rest of the team are getting on with their individual preparations ahead of Saturday's competition … We remain confident of achieving the goals we set out to do here in London and that's to walk away with a medal.
''We're in the fortunate position of being able to draw on strong depth of talent in both riders and horses from within the Australian ranks.''
Jones posted on Twitter this week about her arrival in the Games village.
Courtesy Fairfax Digital and Sydney Morning Herald