Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain eventers in strong medal positions after cross-country

OIiver Townend on the cross-country course
Townend is impressing on his Olympic debut
Tokyo Olympic Games on the BBC
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
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Great Britain's eventers are well placed for team and individual success after impressive cross-country displays in Tokyo.

World number one Oliver Townend, Laura Collett and Tom McEwen lead the team event ahead of Australia and France.

Townend tops the individual standings, with Collett third and McEwen sixth.

One round of showjumping at 09:45 BST on Monday will decide team medals, before the leading individual contenders jump again at 12:45.

Britain last won eventing team gold 49 years ago in Munich, while only two riders - Richard Meade (1972) and Leslie Law (2004) - have tasted individual glory.

Townend and his horse Ballaghmor Class set the tone, negotiating the course at Sea Forest Park five seconds inside the optimum time to remain on 23.60 penalties and he leads Germany's Julia Krajewski by 2.0.

"We know he is a special horse. He is tough and digs deep," said Townend of his 2017 Burghley winner, who also triumphed at Kentucky's five-star event earlier this year.

"It's his mentality, more than anything. He is quirky, but he is tough, and the bottom line is he wants to do his job more than most horses."

Collett, who lost most of her sight in one eye and suffered multiple fractures following a cross-country fall eight years ago, proved in equally blistering form aboard London 52 while McEwen also impressed on Toledo De Kerser to leave Britain on 78.30 - 17.9 clear of their rivals.

During the event, a horse from the Swiss team suffered an "irreparable ligament rupture in the lower right limb" and had to be put down.

A statement from the International Federation for Equestrian Sports said: "It is with great sadness that we announce that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel, has had to be euthanised after pulling up extremely lame."

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