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Dutton named WEG flag bearer

19 August 2006

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Phillip Dutton has been chosen as the flag bearer for the Australian team at the World Equestrian Games starting in Aachen, Germany, tomorrow.

Dutton is one of Australia’s most experienced international competitors, having been chosen as part of every Australian Three-Day Eventing WEG and Olympic team since 1994.

He won Eventing team gold medals at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics.

Dutton was fourth in this year’s Rolex Kentucky International Three-Day Event, one of only four CCI 4-star events held annually in the world, on his Aachen WEG mount, Connaught.

Dutton, originally from Nyngan, NSW, moved to the US in 1991. He was named US Eventing Association Leading Rider of the Year in 1998 (the first time this title had been given to a foreign rider), 2000, 2001 and 2002.

He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2001 and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1997 and the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

WEG is the biggest event on the equestrian calendar outside the Olympic Games and Australia has some good medal chances.

Australia won back-to-back Eventing team gold at the Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney Olympics but is yet to enjoy the same level of success at WEG.

Its best Eventing performances at WEG have been fourth placings at The Hague in 1994 and Jerez, Spain, in 2002.

However, Australia’s eventers are in top form, led by three-time Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy, who took out the prestigious Kentucky event and the Badminton Horse Trials earlier this year.

“We have some exceptionally good chances. From a team perspective, you’d have to say Eventing and Endurance are looking good and from an individual perspective there’s a chance of some good results in dressage and jumping,” Chef de Mission Geoff Sinclair said.

About 800 athletes are expected to compete at WEG from August 20 to September 3 for the world champion titles in eventing, dressage, showjumping, four-in-hand driving, endurance, vaulting and reining.

Australia will field about 23 competitors across all disciplines except reining.

Equestrian Federation of Australia

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