Crowd roars on Zara in showjumping

First published in National News © by

Crowds have cheered Zara Phillips as she put in a confident performance in showjumping as Britain's eventing team reached for Team GB's first gold of the Olympics.

The Queen's granddaughter was third up for the British equestrian eventing team as she continued her promising Olympic debut.

Supporters who had braved gloomy skies in Greenwich, south-east London, fell into a hushed silence as she tackled the course, which included jumps featuring a miniature Nelson's column and bright red post boxes. But they erupted into delighted cheers once she had finished, waving Union flags.

Members of the Royal Family turned out again to support her, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry cheering her on.

That golden dream has already come true for 15-year-old swimming sensation Ruta Meilutyte after the Lithuanian schoolgirl, who lives and trains in Plymouth, stole the heart of her adopted country with a spectacular win in the women's 100 metres breaststroke final. Her victory and emotional post-race interview instantly secured her status as a darling of the London Games.

Those memorable scenes in the Aquatics Centre were played out shortly after GB's men's gymnasts wrote their own names into the Olympic history books. Their dramatic bronze was the first British medal in the event for 100 years.

Britain hold silver medal position in the team eventing competition behind reigning European champions Germany coming into the action. The last time Team GB won an Olympic team eventing gold was in Munich 40 years, when Captain Mark Phillips - Zara's father - was a competitor.

After her win in the pool an incredulous Meilutyte, who attends the same school as diver Tom Daley, was left almost lost for words as she tried to absorb what she had done. "I cannot believe it," she told the BBC afterwards. "It's too much for me."

It was a very different story for her fellow pupil at Plymouth College. Daley and Pete Waterfield were left deflated after missing out on a podium place in the synchronised 10m platform final.

Meanwhile, police said a 17-year-old has been arrested after malicious tweets were sent to Daley. Dorset Police said the teenager was held at a guest house in Weymouth hours after 18-year-old Daley received the messages on social networking site Twitter.


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