By Mark Etheridge
The South African dressage team may have missed out on qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in London but young Nicole Smith still has a chance of getting to London as an individual rider.
South Africa were up against some tough competition in the form of fellow Southern Hemisphere countries Australia and New Zealand in the second of the two-part FEI regional qualifying event in Ermelo, Netherlands.
The first leg had been held in Sydney, Australia last month but South Africa only took part in the Ermelo leg.
The combined results had Australia winning with a score of 69.255% from New Zealand who scored 64.922%. South Africa notched a score of 63.000% for third spot.
The individual South African scores saw Smith scoring 64.808%, Adriaan van Wyk (62.319%), Zilla Pearse (61.872%) and Denisa Hallion (60.000%).
Smith, just 20 years old, was riding her super mare Victoria and ended fourth in the individual stakes.
It’s not entirely over for the South African team though. They can still try and qualify through the world rankings route and if successful could compete as a “composite team” qualified as a group of individuals, a more difficult process but not impossible.