Equestrianism: Boost for Olympia

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The Independent Online
Competitors for the Olympia show jumping championships, which begin their five-day run this afternoon, include the top 14 in the world jumping rankings, writes Genevieve Murphy. Among them are four reigning champions: the Olympic gold medallist, Ludger Beerbaum of Germany, the world title holder, Franke Sloothaak, also of Germany, Ireland's European champion, Peter Charles, and the British holder of the Volvo World Cup, Nick Skelton.

The assembled riders represent the strongest field to contest these annual championships, which were first launched in 1972. It should give a welcome fillip to British show jumping, which so often loses the top riders, including the home ones, to the rich continental shows.

This is the last month in which the Whitaker brothers and Skelton will ride for the Everest Team. All three are still seeking sponsorship for 1996 and, since they remain the most successful riders in Britain, it would be a sad reflection if they cannot find further support.