European Eventing Championships: GB drop to sixth

William Fox-Pitt
William Fox-Pitt

Great Britain look unlikely to win a team medal at the European Eventing Championships for the first time in 20 years after a disappointing third day.

The London 2012 silver medallists went into the cross-country in Malmo, Sweden with only a slim chance of reclaiming the title they won eight times in succession between 1995 and 2009.

But they have dropped to sixth behind Germany going into the show jumping.

Briton William Fox-Pitt, 44, remains in second place in the individual event.

He is eight points behind Germany's Michael Jung.

Only once before - at Achselschwang, Germany in 1993 - have Britain not won a European team medal since the competition was launched 60 years ago.

However, the British team of Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook, Pippa Funnell and Lucy Wiegersma find themselves a huge 32.2 penalties behind third-placed France (135.4), with defending champions Germany leading on 112.2 and host nation Sweden second on 120.6.

Britain had to count Funnell's score of 87.6 penalties because Wiegersma fell from Simon Porloe early in her cross-country round.

Although former European individual champion Cook (Miners Frolic) and Fox-Pitt (Chilli Morning) were two of 20 combinations to jump clear inside the time from 61 starters, their stylish displays could not rescue the situation.

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Great Britain team boss Yogi Breisner said: "From a British point of view, Miners Frolic went beautifully well, and likewise Chilli Morning, and the rest of it is probably best put to bed.

"If you look back, we have always come away with a team medal in the last 20 years, but in that period all the other nations have had bad days.

"This time, it was our turn and let's hope it is the last one for a while.

"We are extremely disappointed. We are competitive, and we want to be competitive, but it was just three small hiccups of the type that unfortunately happen in sport."

Fox-Pitt, who won individual European silver in 1997 and 2007, is a distant eight penalties - two show jumping fences - behind reigning Olympic, world and European champion Jung.

Cook, celebrating her 43rd birthday on Saturday, is best of the British challengers behind Fox-Pitt, lying ninth on 43.4, while Funnell is 43rd with Mirage d'Elle.

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