Former Irish show jumping star Eddie Macken has been selected as the Irish Olympic team trainer, the Show Jumping Association of Ireland (SJAI) confirmed today.
The show jumping supremo dominated the sport for more than 30 years, with numerous appearances for Ireland on victorious Nations Cup teams, especially on his home turf of Dublin, when he was for so many years the backbone of the Aga Khan Trophy team.
Eddie described himself as “delighted to have been included in the Olympic effort.
Equestrian Federation of Irelands secretary general, Dan Butler, is upbeat about the appointment, saying: This puts us on a firm footing. In keeping with the Irish Sports Councils strategy, our focus is now on Athens, and we expect great things from all our disciplines.
Eddie is optimistic about the Irish chances at the Olympics, and keen to make the most of the high calibre of officials and riders involved in Irish show jumping in the run up to the Olympic Games.
Eddie says: We now have a unique group of people to help the team give their best at Athens, with Tommy Wade and Gerry Mullins acting as chefs dequipe in the run-up to the Olympics, and John Ledingham as equestrian team manager.
“I firmly believe that with the riders and horses available, we have an excellent chance of bringing home a medal in 2004.
The 17 riders on the Olympic Show Jumping long-list discussed various topics at the SJAI meeting in Dublin yesterday (Tuesday), including preparations for the Olympics and accommodation and stabling in Greece, the Samsung Super League for 2004, anti-doping policy and media relations.