12 Oct 2015

NZ eventers qualify for Rio

11:06 am on 12 October 2015

The New Zealand equestrian team have sealed a place at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with a third place finish at the qualifying event in The Netherlands.

The New Zealand eventer Blyth Tait.

New Zealand eventer Blyth Tait has a chance of making the Rio Olympics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The team - Jonelle Price on Cloud Dancer II, Tim Price on Xavier Faer, Jesse Campbell on Kaapachino and Dan Jocelyn on Dassett Cool Touch - finished third behind victors Ireland and the second-placed United States.

Japan, New Zealand's only rivals for the team spot at Rio, had already fallen by the wayside following yesterday's cross country stage.

An Equestrian Sports New Zealand spokesperson says the qualification means New Zealand can send a team of four (plus one reserve) to Rio however, it may or may not be those who were in the Boekelo team that helped qualify.

All riders need to meet certain New Zealand Olympic Committee criteria to be selected for the games, which won't happen until well into next year.

New Zealand though still had to complete today's showjumping phase to secure the Olympic berth.

Two-time Boekelo winner and gold medal Olympian Blyth Tait aboard Xanthus III finished in second place on 49.2 penalty points, just behind Britain's Nicola Wilson.

Tait's last Olympics was Athens in 2004.

Dan Jocelyn and Beaucatcher were the next best of the New Zealanders, finishing in 18th place on 60.8, while Jonelle Price and Cloud Dancer II were 22nd on 62.9.

Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino, who were in second place going into the all-important showjumping, picked up 21 faults, which dropped them down to 26th.

Tim Price and Xavier Faer finished in 34th with 71.5, while Brown and Princeton were just behind them on 74.9.

Jocelyn and his team horse Dassett Cool Touch were 45th on 81.6.

New Zealand high performance eventing coach Erik Duvander was pleased to have qualified for next year's Rio Games.

"We came here with the team we believed would be good enough to qualify and we have, so now we can fully focus on our Olympic preparation," he said.