The BSJA has announced that two riders will be representing Great Britain in show jumping at Athens 2004. It received official confirmation that British show jumpers Robert Smith and Michael Whitaker, who stand eighth and ninth respectively in the world rankings, had secured the places for the individual event.
It is not yet clear which riders will be representing Britain, as the show jumper who achieves the rankings place gains an individual place for the country they represent. However, because the rankings system is calculated according to the points gained by the show jumper riding a number of different horses, it is possible that a different British combination will be selected to go to Athens.
A spokesman for the BSJA explained: “Derek Ricketts [team manager] will be looking for consistency throughout the spring, although obviously the riders will be aiming to peak their horses at the Olympics, so many of them have only just come back in.
“The four Nations Cups will be used as viewing trials, and short-listed riders’ performances at these competitions will decide whether or not they book their flights to Athens. We will be making the decision at the end of June, after the Nations Cups,” she added.
Five out of the nine short-listed riders will be competing in the Nations Cup at La Baule this weekend. They are Michael Whitaker, Robert Smith, Nick Skelton, Mark Armstrong and Scott Smith. The remaining four short-listed riders are Richard Davenport, Tim Stockdale, John Whitaker and Robert Whitaker; they will all be competing at Nations Cup meetings later this month.
William Funnell was short-listed, but had his Olympic hopes dashed when his top ride Cortaflex Mondriaan cracked a splint bone earlier this year. Di Lampard, who was the only woman on the shortlist, suffered similar disappointment earlier this year when she was forced to retire her Olympic hope Abbervail Dream, because a foot injury sustained last year was not healing as well as it should be.