Australian WEG Team member Briana Burgess, who secured her spot on the team after lodging an appeal against the first announced WEG team, has decided to withdraw as La Scala will not be ready for peak performance at the Games on 25 - 29 August 2014.
Burgess’ long-listed horse La Scala sustained an injury prior to Australia’s second nomination event in Deauville (France) which prevented her from taking part in the competition.
Australian selectors nominated a team including Maree Tomkinson, which Burgess appealed and the Australian Federation's Appeals Board upheld it, directing the Dressage Selection Panel (DSP) to confirm Burgess and La Scala as the
third ranked combination in Australia’s dressage ranking list based on one qualification score.
However, due to limited preparation time before WEG, Burgess has formed the view that La Scala's preparation for the Games has been affected to the point where the horse would not be able to compete at his peak performance level in time.
The 26-year old is disappointed to be bowing out of what would have been her first World Equestrian Games, but is optimistic for the future and will now focus on her training with La Scala in a bid to further improve the strong scores posted by the pair in recent times.
Burgess acknowledged the support she had received throughout the process. “I’d like to thank Equestrian Australia, team vets, the appeals board, my family, trainer Patrik Kittel and dressage supporters. I look forward to supporting Australia’s dressage team when competition gets underway,” she said.
High Performance Manager Chris Webb said Burgess was a bright young star for Australian dressage. “This has been an extremely difficult time for Briana and we acknowledge the dignified way in which she has handled herself. We look forward to seeing what her future holds in the international arena,” he said.
The Australian Dressage Team for WEG 2014 is back to its original form:
Mary Hanna and Sancette
Kristy Oatley and Ronan
Lyndal Oatley and Sandro Boy
Maree Tomkinson and Diamantina
Photo © Astrid Appels
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