The British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) has announced the short-list for the 2004 Olympics.
The 10-strong list is all male, and dominated by the Whitakers. Michael Whitaker, who is currently ninth in the world rankings, leads the British field, with Robert Smith, ranked 12th, and Nick Skelton (pictured right), ranked 22nd following closely in his wake.
Other Olympic contenders include Mark Armstrong, Richard Davenport, William Funnell, Scott Smith, Tim Stockdale and John and Robert Whitaker.
The final selection process will be based on riders’ performances over the next two months, with the qualification period ending on 1 May.
Although Britain failed to qualify for the team event at the Olympics, qualification for the individual event is based on the world rankings, disregarding the countries that have already qualified.
The rider who achieves a ranking 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.
Britain is currently eligible for two places in the individual event, although this will only be confirmed at the end of the qualifying period.
Team manager, Derek Ricketts says: “Hopefully we will be sending two British riders in August, but we will have to wait until the end of the qualifying period before we can be completely confident.”
Final selection is likely to be made by mid-June, which is the definite entry threshold for the Olympics.