The temperature is rising in Belgium.....and I do not refer only to the meteorological situation. Battle commenced yesterday....and it was a damn good day for Team GBR; Grade Ia - 1st & 2nd, Grade II – 1st, Grade III – 1st, Grade IV – 1st !!!!!!!!! This was not a medal competition in itself but the first part of the Team Medal competition; the Team medals are decided by the best three scores after the scores of the Team Test (yesterday) and the Individual Test (today) are added together.
Drama has also been taking place off the Field of Play as various key officials linked to the Organising Committee (not Team GBR) throw themselves off steps and pavements; one broken arm and a possible concussion is the score so far. That said we did have a certain Development Programme Manager who had to make an early hours visit to the local hospital following an allergic reaction to substance or substances unknown.......I am glad to report that he is looking much better today.
And so to today. It is still early but so far it is good news.....Gold (Anne Dunham) & Silver (Emma Sheardown) in Grade Ia and Gold in Grade II (Natasha Baker). Very well done to all....especially Natasha who is riding in her first Championships. Deb Criddle and Sophie Wells compete this afternoon and we will then know the results of the Team medals but going in today we were on 221.815 with DEN on 215.497 and GER on 215.106 (kinda role reversal from last week!). With Anne and Emma landing good scores today (Natasha is competing as an individual) all is looking good......but of course it is not over until the National Anthem plays (note to self.....always carry a DVD with the National Anthem on it....the version they are playing here is quite dreadful and sounds like lift music in a cheap hotel).
So.....a very big thank you to all of you who purchase Lottery tickets......I am in no doubt that without the support we get through UK Sport that the riders would not be able to produce the results they do. The support available to riders is outstanding and makes a difference; all the costs of attending a Championships are met by the funding we receive as are the costs of the World Class Programme staff that support the Team. I wish that the value of the support elite sport receives was recognised more in the Press. After 2012 a higher proportion of the funding will come from Lottery (it is a mixture of Lottery and Exchequer) – so every time you buy a Lottery ticket you are helping put British athletes on the Podium.
It is a very hot day here (I hope it is not as hot at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for cross country day) and there is one disadvantage of this venue...the drains stink!
So fingers crossed that we see the Union flag rising up the middle flag pole a few more times here and that we see a Brit on top of the podium at Burghley tomorrow (now that would piss the antipodeans off who, of course, have not had to contend a Championships this year).
Natasha Baker at the start of her test