World show jumping champion Dermott Lennon has signed a five-year sponsorship deal worth well in excess of €2m (£1.4m).
The 34-year-old rider from Co Down has agreed a deal valued at more than €1.7m (£1.2m) with a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family, Prince Sultan Bin Fahad Bin Nasser Bin Abdulaziz.
Under an ancillary agreement that boosts the package to more than €2m, Dermott will also receive backing from the Dutch airline KLM and computer component company Sun Microsystems.
As well as financial backing for Dermott, the deal includes the Prince taking on partial ownership of Belfast Knight, a five-year-old Irish-bred by Cavalier, who Dermott views as his Olympic hope for 2008. The package also includes support up to and including the 2008 Olympic Games.
“It’s a great combination between the Arab world and Ireland, the land of the horse,” says the Prince.
The contract, which includes an option to extend beyond the agreed five-year term, is a welcome change of luck for Lennon, who has taken a back seat since winning the individual title at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, in September 2002.
His top ride, the Touchdown mare Liscalgot, missed much of last season after damaging a ligament in a front leg in May last year and her future in the sport is still far from secure.