The British Equestrian Federation has announced the UK Sport National Lottery funded showjumping athletes who will compete at the FEI Longines European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden (21-27 August 2017).
The British Showjumping selectors have selected two individual athletes to contest this year’s championships. The athletes selected are:
Michael Whitaker, 57, based Nottinghamshire, with Melissa Braybrooke’s Viking
William Whitaker, 28, based West Yorkshire, with Ludwig Criel’s Utamaro D’Ecaussines
Gordon Burton, Equestrian Performance Director says; “Our selectors have chosen to send two individuals to the FEI Longines European Championships and focus our team activity on the Nations Cup series, to best achieve our goals for both 2017 and WEG 2018. This decision has been made taking into account both available equine talent and our longer term performance objectives.
“The selectors went through a robust process, based on performance data and discussions with athletes and owners from the nominated entries list. The selectors concluded that in this transitional period for showjumping, it is in the best longer-term interests of our less experienced equine athletes to take what we know is an unusual approach. Equine form is dynamic and we want to balance our championship and Nations Cup team delivery to best effect, while managing the exciting equine talent we have for the future.”
Di Lampard, World Class Performance Manager for Showjumping says; “This has not been an easy decision and we would be kidding ourselves to say that we have been satisfied with our Nations Cup team performances this year. Like many sports, showjumping has changed massively in the past two years and we need to balance the individual objectives of riders alongside those of our national championship campaigns, especially in the first year of an Olympic cycle, which is always more of a transitional period. We’re starting to see some new and exciting combinations, alongside the more established riders who continue to support GB’s international campaign, which will give us greater strength and depth in the build-up to Tokyo.”
British Showjumping Chief Executive, Iain Graham says: “British Showjumping fully respects and supports the decision made by the selectors. We know that the decision wasn’t made lightly and understand that in depth conversations were had with all stakeholders. Our focus is now on supporting the two senior riders heading out to the Championships along with our two youth riders and we wish them the very best of luck”.
Di Lampard adds; “I’m very hopeful for both combinations at this year’s Championships. William has really come together with Utamaro over the last 12 months and I think that they’re really ready. Michael is a fantastic rider, which we have seen on many occasions and he has had some great form with Viking.
“I think that they will really look to support each other and we will see that team spirit coming through, with Michael’s experience also helping William, who makes his championship debut.”
The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.