The road to Rio 2016 is a long one

Helena Lucas MBE - First ahtlete to be named for either TeamGB or ParalympicsGB

The Road to RIO 2016 begins


I know, for the athletes, it is a 4 year Road to RIO, but for us photographers sometimes it seems like we just turn up take a few photos and then go to the next job.

This morning my Road to RIO 2016 started with the first announcement of an athlete to compete in either the Olympics or Paralympics and it just so happened that it was a Paralympian. Helena Lucas MBE has been named to compete in the sailing (2.4mR class) for ParalympicGB. It was quite a day for her, as it is also her 40th birthday today, I hope she doesn't mind me saying that.

Helena won Gold at London 2012 and is hoping to retain her title in RIO, something that has never been done before by any Paralympic sailor. We wish her the best of luck.


She is pictured here onboard the Cutty Sark in London with her LONDON 2012 Gold medal. (Photo copyright Garry Bowden/SIPPA)



5* Grand Prix day kicked off with the 2* riders in the CSI2* 1.15m, Kayleigh Watts and the Whitaker’s horse Blush which finished second yesterday took the top spot today fighting off Thursday and Friday’s winner Lara Whiteway and Obelix Z who finished in second. Kathleen Widdowson riding Thera Ka, whose father-in-law own Big Star finished in 3rd place after coming 4th in yesterday’s class. These three British riders have shown ultimate consistency over the three days so far with well-deserved placings.

The first CSI5* grand prix of the days was the Sapinda 1.45m speed class which was won by the French man Roger Yves Bost in a lightening time of 50.55 seconds on his chestnut Castle Forbes Cosma, and its safe to say not one pull was taken by Roger the whole way round, he put caution to the wind. Last to go in the class, this time a French woman Penelope Leprevost riding Flora de Mariposa who had a good go at his time finishing in 51.19 seconds. Laura Renwick(GBR) and Kavanagh IV took 5th spot being the highest placed British rider and she held a strong  lead for a while during the class.

The Longines 1.60m Grand Prix is the biggest class during each leg of the Global Champions tour and everyone would like a winner of the host country. 18 go through to the second round, more would go through if more clear, or if not enough clears, the top 18 results from the first round go through. 18 clear rounds were completed in the first round, with Robert Smith(GBR) just missing out on the second round due to picking up one time fault, being over the time allowed of 79 seconds by 200ths of a second in 79.02 seconds. 7 of those 18 clear rounds went to Britain making it a very exciting  second round with the crowd eagerily awaiting to see which riders would make it through to the jump off. Laura Kraut(USA) and Cedric were the first of the clear rounds in the second round, and 4 out of the 7  British riders which were clear in the second round went through to the final jump off.

It’s safe to say that the jump off was positively nail biting, with a good round put in by William Funnel (GBR) who was the triple clear in the class for Britain riding Billy Congo. However the lead was held by Christian Ahlmann(GER) until the last two to go, British riders Ben Maher and Nick Skelton. Nick Skelton(GBR) on the suitably named Big Star, after a tence round, especially the last two fences, put in a quicker time that than Ahlmann(GER) and took the lead. This made it a definite British victory with the last to go being Ben Maher(GBR) and Cella. Ben managed to shave some time off of Nick’s flying round to take the victory in the Longines Grand Prix at the London leg of the Global Champions Tour, making it a 1,2 for Great Britain at this first Global Champions Tour for London.

The atmosphere was electric with the whole crowd reliving the Olympic success with two gold medalist riders who were here in London just a year ago winning for Great Britain. The class was concluded by the presentation in usual Global Champions Tour style, with Ben receiving a huge chuck of prize money – the most Britain has ever had at an international showjumping show – and a watch from the sponsor Longines. Champange bottles were given to the first place Ben, second place Nick and third place Christian on the podium. Ben, as you are likely to see from Gary’s and Peter’s pictures got the champagne from both sides and therefore did his lap of honour to “simply the best) sodden in champagne, but rightly so. This Longines Grand Prix showed the crème de la crème of the world showjumpers and the Brits did it again for us here at the London Global Champions Tour.

Melissa Thorpe, SiP Blogger

Global Champions Tour London


You are reading the first Sport in Pictures blog post from the first Global Champions tour in London which both Gary Bowden and Peter Reynolds are Photographers at.

The London leg of the Global Champions Tour is being held on the Olympic Park in between Westfield Shopping Centre and the Aquatics centre and the Stadium. This iconic venue has been put together in a matter of 10 days and I have to say with a lovely arena, plenty of trade stands and top class sponsors, it’s a pretty amazing event.

British rider Lara Whiteway(GBR) kicked off the show by winning the first class CSI2* 110/115 on Obelix Z, a good 3 seconds in front of second place rider Catherine Silfervling Janssonlque(SWE) with the next British rider placed in 4th being Alicia Store(GBR) on Diva Z.

Another British rider hit the top spot in the CSI2* 125/130, Jake Saywell(GBR) took the class on board Special K IV with Catherine Silfervling Jansson (SWE) riding lque(just missing out on a win by one for the second time. British rider Claire Beecroft(GBR) on Voodoo III taking 3rd spot and Florence Bellm(GBR) on Southbound also another British rider securing 4th place.

James Davenport(GBR) on Carrento Ztar won the CSI2* 140/145 making it a hat trick for the British riders in the first three classes here at the London Global Champions Tour. Eirin Bruheim(NOR) on NLF Billy on Show, a british horse previously ridden by William Funnel(GBR) who has just recently been sold abroad, took second place. Jo Pay(GBR) took 3rd and 4th with Goodman for Fun II and Goodman Accobado and another British rider Sophie Fawcett(GBR) with Rembrandt Blue in 5th place, making the line up prolifically British -  very nice to see here in London.

The first CSI5* competition of the day was the 1.45m which included all the big names such as Laura Kraut, Peter Charles, Tim Gredley, Nick Skelton, and the one all us Brits love, John Whitaker to name but a few.

British rider Mark Armstrong took a very early lead in the CSI5* 1.45m and held the top spot for a very long time. Puis Schwizer(SWZ) did a stunning turn to the double right near the end of the second phase beating Mark Armstrong’s (GBR) time riding Coolgirl. Britain’s luck unfortunately ran short as this was the first win for a foreign rider at this show, however many British riders were in the placings William Funnel(GBR) and Billy Angelo 6th, John Whitaker(GBR) and Argento 7th and Alexandra Thornton(GBR) and Caballero 8th.

Lauren Hough(USA) riding Ohlala put in a quick time early on in the CSI5* 1.45/1.50 speed class and ended up finishing 2 seconds quicker than Italy rider Jur Vrieling(ITA). Foreign riders stomed the top placings in this class with nations such as USA, ITA, FRA and QUA. John Whitaker(GBR) on Maxamillion was the highest placed Brit in this speed class picking up 6th place, with Peter Charles(GBR) and Murkas Rubert R in 8th place, with this class very much seeming to be a warm up for the next 3 days for our international riders.

So all in all a very good day for all competing at the first day and the first ever London Global Champions Tour, with stars such as Bruce Springsteen arriving at this iconic venue to watch his daughter Jessica compete in the CSI5*.  Smiles all round as we have lovely weather throughout the day, and I’m sure the competitors, grooms and owners will be making full use of the bar this evening with another 3 exciting days to come.

P.S, I met Nick Skelton’s Olympic ride Big Star today as well as Ben Maher’s Triple X and Aristo Z, they definitely know their stars!


Melissa Thorpe,  SIP Blogger


Another round of exciting competition from international 2* and 5* riders…

British rider Florence Bellm(GBR) started the day by winning the CSI2* 1.25/1.30 on board Southbound. Placed fourth yesterday, this would have naturally been a fantastic progression from yesterday. Kayleigh Watts(GBR) riding John Whitaker’s Blush previously ridden by Louise Whitaker was second with a 2 second time gap between second and third place Eirin Bruhiem on board Anyway.

Laura Whiteway(GBR) for the second day in a row took the top spot in the CSI2* 1.15m speed class o Obelix  Z. Lara rode a faultless round on this careful horse and deserved to take this class for the second day and the London leg on the Global Champions Tour. Second place went to Catherine Silfervling Jansson (SWE) riding lque making the 1st and 2nd place in this 1.15m CSI2* tour the same as yesterday, with Catherine and Lara showing ultimate consistency on these horses.  Kathleen Widdowson(GBR), whose father-in-law owns Nick Skelton’s gold medallist ride Big Star, lied in 4th place with Thera Ka.

Sophie Fawcett(GBR) and Rembrandt Blue took 1st place in the CSI2* 1.40/1.45 speed class after picking up 5th place in this same class yesterday. 300ths of a second behind Sophie, Jake Saywell(GBR) and Cornelius 27 lied in second place. Keeping the consistency of yesterday of 3rd and 4th place, Jo Pay(GBR) took 4th and 5th on Goodman Accobado and Goodman for Fun II.

Christan Ahlmann(ITA) took the honours in the CSI5* 1.45/1.50m on Little Lazy Z putting in a solid, quick round which proved unbeatable throughout the class while many tried to chase his time.  Gregory Wathelet (GER) and Reisling Du Monselet was a matter of 10 100ths of a second behind Christian in second place. Mark Armstrong(GBR) riding Thesaura who was second yesterday ending up in 4th again today, being the highest place British rider in this class for the second day running.

Patrice Delaveau(FRA) took the top spot in the CSI5* 1.50m with Lacrimoso 3 HDC with a neat, lightening round which again proved unbeatable.  Steve Guerdat(SWI) and Sidney VIII took second place. Our British gold medallist, Scott Brash took third place with Ursula XII being our highest place British rider in this class.

The CSI5* 1.45m and 1.60m grand prixs happen tomorrow, unusual for the big class to be on the Saturday in Britain. This is the two classes which count toward the Global Champions Tour point system over the 13 tours around the world, so this should be a very exciting day of competition from the top riders in the world here at the London leg of this tour.

Melissa Thorpe, SiP Blogger