SCOOP Olympic Update, Tuesday, 19 September, 2000
SCOOP Olympic Update, Tuesdat, 19 September, 2000
Article Mathew Loh
NEW ZEALAND's Olympic campaign went from bad to worse today when disaster struck the three day eventing equestrian team with Atlanta Gold medalist Blyth Tait devastated to see his horse Ready Teddy pulled out of the show-jumping on veterinary advice.
After a flawless cross-country yesterday Ready Teddy appeared primed for the final day's jumping however the grueling course at Horsley Park proved to much for the finely tuned thoroughbred who suffered a stone bruise which was only detected this morning.
Once the bruise was discovered - under a shoe which may have moved during a morning hack-up - the New Zealand team had only an hour to remedy it before presenting Ready Teddy to the vets.
Tragically this proved too little time and by trotting poorly on his second trot out, before the vet, Ready Teddy was pulled out. And with Paul O'Brien's mount Enzed already out after a very tough cross-country New Zealand's medal hopes were dashed as a minimum of three horses must compete to record a score.
Following the problems with Silence and the death of Chesterfield today's forced withdrawal of Ready Teddy left Blyth Tait wondering what will come next.
"After all that's happened I'm really numb to it" said a very disappointed Tait who after bearing the flag at the opening ceremony will now rely on the individual events for his Sydney 2000 Olympic hopes.
The withdrawal of Ready Teddy and the resultant demise of the NZ team saw Vaughan Jefferis decide not to ride while Mark Todd took Diamond Hall Red around in a jump merely used as practice for the rider.
Meanwhile the sad story of little or no success for New Zealand athletes during the opening three days of competition continued on the basketball court today where the Tall Blacks were hammered 75-60 by a huge Chinese team.
Looking up at what is nick-named "the walking great wall" of China - Chinese big men Yao Ming, 7ft 5, Wang Zhi Zhi, 7ft 1, Menk Batere 7ft - the Kiwis were always going to struggle and with their opponents having a shooting game to match their stature it was almost a mis-match.
However by starting former NBA player Sean Marks at centre and having Mark Dickel on his game the Tall Blacks did improve on their first-up performance against France and while suffering a convincing defeat will be looking to up the ante in their next game against Italy.