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Equestrian: Kuerten and Lynch bid to improve World Cup points

Jessica Kuerten, Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey are listed for the 10th leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup series at Bordeaux this weekend, where the qualifying competition takes place on Saturday evening.

Twomey is lying fifth on the Western European League leaderboard and, with 50 points, is well qualified for the final, which kicks off in Leipzig on April 27. However, despite her victory at Mechelen just after Christmas, Kuerten needs to add at least 10 points to the 30 she has if she is to make the cut.

Lynch is significantly off the pace with just 13 points to his credit after five outings and will be hoping to improve that situation over the remaining four legs.

Meanwhile, international equestrian sport got a huge boost last week when Brazilian show jumper Rodrigo Pessoa was presented with the 2010 Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Award for his conduct during the closing stages of the individual jumping championship at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last October.

The 38-year-old son of the legendary rider Nelson Pessoa went into the final-four showdown at the Kentucky fixture along with reigning Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, the eventual winner Philippe Lejeune and the relatively unknown Saudi Arabian Abdullah Al Sharbatly, who, at times, seemed well out of his depth during this tense battle.

However he demonstrated great courage and determination, and before riding Pessoa's horse, Al Sharbatly asked the considerably more experienced rider for advice on how to cope with him.

Without hesitation Pessoa guided him through the track and and the Saudi went on to win the silver medal, while, surprisingly, the Brazilian finished out of the medals in fourth place.

But his generosity of spirit was recognised by the presentation of a World Fair Play Diploma during the International Sports Press Association seminar in Lausanne last Thursday.

Irish Independent