Olympics-Chile loses equestrian berth after horse's death

(Reuters) - Chilean rider Jaime Bittner will not be able to compete in equestrian eventing at the Paris Olympics after the death of his mare Eden from an infection, the country's Olympic Committee (COCH) said on Saturday.

Bittner, a captain in the Chilean army, booked his spot in this summer's Games along with Eden after being crowned national champions in December.

Under Olympic regulations, both rider and horse qualify for a competition, so no other Chilean pair will be allowed to fill Bittner and Eden's place.

"The COCH has been informed by the Chilean Equestrian Federation of the unfortunate death due to an internal infection of the mare Eden," the COCH said in a statement.

"Team Chile will not be able to use this quota in the full competition in Paris as the tandem composed by the pair is considered qualified.

"We deeply regret the death of 'Eden' and we support Jaime Bittner in this painful moment," it said.

With Bittner's absence, the Chilean Olympic delegation has been reduced to 22 athletes.

(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by William Mallard)

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