Chairman of the eventing selection committee Mandy Stibbe has resigned citing the lack of recognition now afforded to selectors as a principal reason, as well as her severe back problems.
Since Mandy succeeded Giles Rowsell in mid-1999, following the Coral Cove doping crisis, the British team has won two European gold medals, an Olympic silver and a world bronze, plus individual medals.
Riders have been lavish in their praise of the open system Mandy operated with performance manager Yogi Briesner, who has paid tribute to the support she gave him.
However, the arrival of the World Class Performance Plan has relegated much of the unpaid selectors’ traditional role. UK Sport, with the British Olympic Association (BOA), is driving through new criteria which includes BOA members actively monitoring selection procedures.
“It’s a difficult situation and I’m sad about it, but the role of a selector is no longer acknowledged,” said Mandy, who had intended to stay in the post until Athens.
“I do believe in the Performance Plan and the opportunities it offers but although a selector puts in endless hours flogging around, they now don’t get the same contact with owners and riders, which was my main reward.
“But I feel I am leaving the team in a healthy state and I am excited for the future. The top squad are super and there’s a good layer coming on behind. I feel proud to have given Pippa Funnell, Jeanette Brakewell and Leslie Law their first team places.”
WCPP director Matt Straker commented: “I understand Mandy’s feelings and regret her departure. She has seen the sport through one of its most successful periods and it has worked well between her and Yogi, but clearly the performance manager position assumes many of the selectors’ roles.”
A meeting of the Olympic disciplines, chaired by BD’s chief executive David Holmes, will take place today (Wednesday), in which UK Sport’s selection template will be discussed.
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