LONDON — Britain, led by a rider who returned to the sport after breaking his neck in a competition fall, won its first Olympic show jumping gold medal in 60 years Monday.
Three members of Britain’s four-man team — Nick Skelton, Ben Maher and Peter Charles — rode clear rounds in a jumpoff to give the host team victory over the Netherlands. Saudi Arabia was third. The members of the Saudi team were: Kamal Bahamdan, Prince Abdullah Al-Saud, Ramzi Al-Duhami and Abdullah Sharbatly.
Skelton, 54, fractured his neck in 2000 but returned to riding two years later. Competing in his fifth Olympics, Skelton said he was more nervous watching his teammates Monday than riding himself. “I wish I could have gone four times,” he said. “They’ve done great. I’ve got a wonderful horse, wonderful owners, it’s a dream come true.
The last time Britain won an Olympic gold medal in show jumping was at Helsinki in 1952.
The four Dutch riders were still smiling broadly after silver was placed around their necks.
Scores from the final round in the team competition were combined with scores from the first round Sunday.
Saudi Arabia held the lead with only one penalty point after the first round and four countries, including Britain and the Netherlands, were tied for second with four faults each.
The British and Dutch had 8 faults each to put them into the jumpoff Monday. Saudi Arabia took bronze with 14, followed by Switzerland (16), Canada (26) and the United States and Sweden (28 points each).
The team competition also served as a qualifier for the individual show jumping event when the top 35 riders out of 75 entries advanced. The final individual round will be held Wednesday, when medals will be presented.
James takes 400m
Kirani James claimed Grenada’s first medal in Olympic history Monday, leaving the field behind in a drizzle to win the 400-meter gold by more than a half-second.
The 19-year-old James finished in 43.94 seconds. Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic earned the silver in 44.46, giving that country its second medal of the Games shortly after Felix Sanchez won the 400-meter hurdles. Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago got the 400 bronze.
Suhr wins pole vault
American Jennifer Suhr won the women’s pole vault gold with a height of 4.75 meters. Yarisley Silva of Cuba won silver and twice former champion Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia the bronze.
Sanchez rules 400m hurdles
Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic proved that age is no barrier to track success when he stormed to a second men’s 400m hurdles gold medal, eight years after winning in Athens.
The 34-year-old, twice a world champion who was unbeaten in 43 successive races between 2001 and 2004, clocked 47.63 seconds to take victory. American Michael Tinsley secured silver in 47.91. Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson (48.10), the fastest man this year, took bronze.
Ostapchuk bags shot put gold
Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk finally turned the tables on New Zealand’s Valerie Adams to win gold in women’s shot put.
Reigning Olympic champion Adams had come out on top in their last nine encounters but Beijing bronze medallist Ostapchuk produced launched a third-round throw of 21.36 meters to claim her country’s first athletics gold of the Games. Adams could manage only 20.70 meters. Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko produced a personal best of 20.48 metres for bronze.
Algerian medal contender Taoufik Makhloufi was reinstated in the final of the 1,500 meters, hours after being thrown out for not trying in his 800m heat.
Makhloufi lined up at the start of heat five at the Olympic Stadium Monday morning but stopped at the end of the back straight and wandered across the infield past the pole vault area.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) referee subsequently banned him from the rest of the athletics program for not providing “a bona fide effort”. The Algeria team, upset that the IAAF had not spoken to Makhloufi, said the athlete had a knee injury and the decision was later reversed on medical grounds. — Agencies