Irish show jumpers back on track

  • The row in the Irish show jumping camp seems to have abated, with the appointment of Colonel Ned Campion as the new chef d’equipe, and his confirmation that Eddie Macken will remain as Olympic team trainer.

    In an emergency meeting last week, the Executive Committee of the Show Jumping Association of Ireland dismissed the controversial decision made by the International Affairs Committee concerning Eddie Macken, and subsequent motions at the SJAI AGM concerning the issue as having no effect.

    Macken was sacked as Olympic team trainer last month at a behind-closed-doors meeting of the selectors, which had been called to review Ireland’s performance in the Nations Cup series. But a rebellion from many of Ireland’s long-listed riders, led to his reinstatement, not only as Olympic team trainer, but also as chef d’equipe.

    The subsequent appointment of Col. Ned Campion as chef d’equipe leaves Tommy Wade without a role in the Olympic campaign, although his other responsibilities in the SJAI are not affected. Following Campion’s appointment, SJAI chairman Charles Hanley wrote to Eddie Macken, saying:

    “It was unanimously decided that the discussions on your position at the International Affairs Committee of June 8 last, have no effect, and your position as appointed Trainer of the Irish Show Jumping team still stands.”

    However, Campion, as new chef d’equipe, along with the riders and equestrian team manager still had to confirm that they wanted Macken as trainer before he could be reinstated. This was confirmed today by Campion on behalf of the Equestrian Federation of Ireland (EFI):

    “Eddie Macken, with his outstanding record and long experience, will contribute a lot to the team effort. He has been working with the riders since early in the year, and is familiar with the current form.

    “Eddie’s record almost speaks for itself. He is one of the great names in world show jumping,” he concluded.

    A spokesman for the EFI was confident that the saga in the Irish team is now over: “certainly the problems seem to have been resolved, and we don’t foresee any more changes.

    “Campion and Macken go back a long time together, and have a long working relationship, so they will make a good combination supporting our Olympic challenge,” he added.

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