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Olympics-Equestrian-World No. 1, Britain's Oliver Townend, takes early eventing lead

TOKYO: Britain's Oliver Townend, ranked world number one, rode his stallion Ballaghmor Class to an early lead on Friday in the first session of the dressage round of the equestrian eventing competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

China's Alex Hua Tian came second and Germany's Julia Krajewski is in the bronze position, but the rankings are subject to change with further athletes competing in dressage on Saturday.

Germany's Michael Jung, who won individual Gold in London and Rio, will compete in the eventing dressage test on Saturday at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park, which also hosted the equestrian events the last time Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964.

The cross-country and show jumping tests of the three-discipline eventing contest are scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

Starting on Saturday, Australia's Andrew Hoy, 62, could make Olympic history if he wins another gold medal in the finals on Aug. 2, 29 years after first claiming the top spot on the podium in Barcelona in 1992. Hoy took part in his first Olympics in 1984, and his eighth Games participation in Tokyo is an Australian record.

Equestrian sports do not differentiate on the basis of gender, neither of the athlete nor the horse, and it's not unusual for athletes beyond the age of 50 win medals.

Meanwhile Jonelle Price from New Zealand claimed eighth spot in Friday's opening dressage session, and will be closely watching how her husband and team mate Tim performs on Saturday.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Source: Reuters

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