This is pretty much back on board with where Australia is ranked in the world. We did have a setback at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where we came 13th out of 15 teams. Not a great result. So, thank goodness we are back and now we need to focus up on the way forward.
I mentioned before the FEI World Championships how I thought it was important our riders achieved their personal best scores at Herning. It was, after all, their PBs that they were selected on.
So, to be specific, Jayden Brown on WillingaPark Sky Diamond scored 69.674% in the Grand Prix at the Championships. This was exactly equivalent to his PB that got him selected on the team. Simone Pearce on Fiderdance scored 73.463% at the Championships, which was in actual fact a new PB for this combination. Totally brilliant.
Lyndal Oatley on Eros scored 72.189% at the Championships, which unfortunately was 2.181% below her PB of 74.370%. Had Lyndal equalled her personal best of 74.370%, Australia would have moved up one spot and finished seventh in the team classification rather than eighth. So, no harm done – we qualified a team for the Paris Olympics regardless – but we really, really do need to be aware of personal best scores and their potential to make a very big difference to the Australian future.
To further illustrate how important the personal best scores are, the Australians did compete in a Nations Cup competition at Aachen prior to the World Championships. We finished eighth out of eight teams competing in the Nations Cup. When the three Grand Prix scores plus the three GP Special scores were added together, Australia scored 419.947 in total. This is how the Nations Cup is scored, resulting in us coming eighth out of eight teams.
However, had the Australian riders all scored the equivalent to their personal bests in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special, we would have had a team score of 434.046. This would have placed us fifth in the Nations Cup as opposed to eighth. We would have been ahead of Spain, Great Britain and the United States. A significant difference.
Another interesting development is that the new reigning World Champion is the English girl, Lottie Fry. Lottie is 26 years of age. The silver medallist at the World Championships was the Danish girl, Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour, who is 30. The gold medallist at the Tokyo Olympics was the German Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who was 35 at the time. Charlotte Dujardin, who won the individual gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics was 27 at the time. Australia’s superstar of the moment is Simone Pearce. Simone is 31 years of age.