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Riders head to Youth Olympics in China

Britain and Ireland are to be represented in showjumping at this month’s Youth Olympics.

Team GB’s Jake Saywell (pictured above) and Ireland’s Michael Duffy will be heading to Nanjing in China for the Games (16-28 August).

This will be the second Youth Olympics — the first was held in Singapore in 2010 — and riders compete on borrowed horses. Showjumping is the only equestrian discipline.

Jake, from Nottinghamshire, told H&H he is ”honoured” to have been selected. “I’m really excited about it, it’s a great opportunity,” said the 17-year-old.

“It will be a challenge having to ride borrowed horses; we’ll have to adapt quickly. I’ve been riding as many different horses as I can so that I’m prepared.”

The British Equestrian Federation’s Will Connell said this event is good preparation.

“The Youth Olympic Games provides a very rare opportunity for equestrian athletes to compete in a multi-sport environment, and are ideal for young riders with the potential to go and represent GB at senior level,” he said.

“Jake has this potential and I’m sure will not only benefit from his trip to Nanjing but also thrive in the environment of riding borrowed horses.”

Eighteen-year-old Michael Duffy from Mayo has also been selected. Bertram Allen won his country the place by gaining silver at last year’s junior Europeans, but as he’s now over the age limit, Michael goes instead.

“We are delighted that Ireland has secured a place and that we can send such a strong rider. Michael will go straight from competing at the CSIO5* in Dublin, and we wish him well,” said Horse Sport Ireland’s Damian McDonald.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine, 7 August 2014

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