Germany’s Michael Jung, Olympic champion in London 2012 and again in Rio 2016, has already claimed gold in Tokyo one year out from the 2020 Olympic Games after taking the honors with Fischerwild Wave at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event which wrapped up at the Equestrian Park at Baji Koen today.
The 37-year-old, who has three Olympic gold medals and one silver from two Games appearances with the now retired La Biosthetique Sam FBW, had shadowed the leaders from the outset, even though he was riding the youngest horse on the start list: Fischerwild Wave, a 7-year-old Holsteiner (Water Dance XX x Uquina) owned by Klaus and Sabine Fischer and the Jung family.
Third after dressage behind the home side’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA, the German pair moved up to second after yesterday’s cross country and a superb clear in today’s final jumping test to put the pressure on overnight leaders, Australia’s Andrew Hoy with Bloom Des Hauts Crets.
The mare had jumped impeccably around Derek Di Grazia’s cross country 24 hours earlier, but became increasingly headstrong over the colored poles and, when the middle element of the triple combination hit the sand to drop Hoy down the order to fifth, victory went to the German duo.
In mixed weather conditions that veered from heavy rain to hot sunshine, nine horses were foot-perfect over Santiago Varela’s 11-fence track, with Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima on Vick Du Grisors JRA and dressage leaders Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA among them. The home pair moved up to claim podium spots in silver and bronze, heading no fewer than four Japanese in the top 10.
All 16 horses that started yesterday’s cross country were passed fit at this morning’s horse inspection, with all of them beautifully turned out and looking exceptionally well.
The German winner was quick to praise the facilities provided at the two venues, Equestrian Park and Sea Forest. “For me it was very interesting to be here and nice to see how everything works, especially the cross country with the horses,” he said. “It felt very good. It’s difficult but still possible and I think it’s really not a problem. For sure you need a very good preparation and you have to be very fit before you arrive here, the horses and the riders as well.
“I think it will be very nice next year if you see everything this year and we have one more year to prepare and to make some little details a bit better. I’m really looking forward to next season.”
Second-placed Ryuzo Kitajima, a member of Japan’s gold medal team at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta (INA), was delighted with the performance of his horse Vick Du Grisors JRA: “It was hard work in the very hot weather, but my horse had a very good reaction in the cross country and in the practice arena he was too fresh today so I’m very happy with a double clear, it’s a fantastic result.”
The overwhelming impression from the 20 National Olympic and Paralympic Committees that were onsite was extremely positive and the general mood was summed up by Sydney 2000 Olympic champion David O’Connor, who chairs the FEI Eventing Committee.
“The facilities are very impressive and we had the chance to test everything we needed to test, which was the purpose of this week’s test event,” he said. “There are some adjustments to be made but they are minor ones, as the Organizing Committee has thought through all the details and is right on track to make 2020 a really great Olympic Games for equestrian sport.”
Run as a CCI3*, the test event is meant to trial logistics, results, timing and data handling, footing, and transport between the two venues, along with other key factors that are crucial for the smooth running of next year’s Games. Find more details about the Ready Steady Tokyo test event here.
Ready Steady Tokyo test event final placings — top six:
- Germany’s Michael Jung and Fischerwild Wave (28.0)
- Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima and Vick Du Gisors JRA (28.2)
- Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and Bart L JRA (30.1)
- Great Britain’s Georgie Spence and Halltown Harley (30.6)
- Australia’s Andrew Hoy and Bloom Des Hauts Crets (31.7)
- Japan’s Toshiyuki Tanaka and Swiper JRA (32.3)