Isabell Werth Ready to Withdraw from 2012 Olympic Contention
The 2008 Olympic silver medal winning Isabell Werth has announced her readiness to withdraw from Olympic contention. Don Johnson will most likely not be fit on time for the CDIO Aachen and Werth no longer seems to consider El Santo a suitable candidate.
After a disappointing 2012 German Dressage Championships, where Don Johnson injured himself in the Grand Prix test and El Santo performed below par, Isabell Werth focused on the 2012 CDIO Aachen as final trial to fight for a German Olympic spot. Unfortunately Don Johnson (by Don Frederico x Warkant) might not be ready for the last German Olympic qualifier.
El Santo, Isabell's 2011 European Championship team silver medal winning horse, is probably not taking his place. Struggling to produce a good piaffe, the Rhinelander gelding is still a top scoring horse for many nations but in Germany the competition is fierce and the bay gelding might no longer be a strong enough candidate.
After the German Championships, Werth announced that she would go back to the drawing board to solve the issues with El Santo. Last Friday 15 June 2012 she competed him at a national show in Isernhagen and barely made the 70% marker. She finished second behind Hartwig Burfeind on Collin with 70.47%.
Today Werth, a 5-time Olympian and 1996 Olympic champion, confirmed the possible end of her 2012 Olympic campaign. "It's bitter but a start at the Olympics in London is no longer realistic for me. I'm not a dreamer," she said.
The German Olympic dressage team is shaping up to be constituted by Helen Langehanenberg (Damon Hill), Matthias Rath (Totilas), Kristina Sprehe (Desperados) and as fourth member either Anabel Balkenhol (Dablino) or Dorothee Schneider (Diva Royal).
"I'm clearly behind them," Werth stated. "I won't wait for one of them to drop out. I wish them all much luck in London."
Team trainer Jonny Hilberath, however, is less decisive about Werth's withdrawal and said he still has a "small hope" for her comeback. "Isabell is always up for a surprise. We have to wait for Aachen," he stated. For an individual spot the experienced Werth "could be valuable for the team."
Quotes © DPA
Photo © Selene Scarsi
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