Britain’s equestrian team has been set a target medal tally of between one and three medals — of any colour — at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) (25 September-10 October).
This year’s medal target for government-funded sports was announced last week by UK Sport to ensure that progress is being made in the build up to London 2012.
“If these targets are achieved, they will signify a stepping up in performances,” said UK Sport chief executive John Steele.
Calculated by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), the targets have to be approved by UK Sport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and are designed to highlight any sports that are under-performing.
“There’s less pressure on our teams this year, compared with 2006, as we’ve already qualified for the Olympics,” said BEF World Class performance director, Will Connell.
“These targets are achievable — but if we only win one, that doesn’t mean we’ve failed.”
At the 2006 WEG in Aachen, Britain’s eventers brought home the medals — Zara Phillips won individual gold and the team took silver.
This year, for the first time, Britain has high hopes of a dressage medal too.
“I certainly hope for at least one,” said British dressage team captain Richard Davison.
“Laura’s [Bechtolsheimer] score keeps reaching record levels. Who knows what scores Carl Hester’s new sensation, Uthopia, will reach and, with Emma Hindle and Lancet, they will make a very strong team.”
Eventing performance manager Yogi Breisner said: “I would have thought these targets were achievable.”
The para-equestrian team is expected to win between four and eight medals this year — the fourth highest tally of the 18 Paralympic sports.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (25 March, ’10)