Equestrianism: Britain promote youth

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MICHAEL BULLMAN, the newly elected chairman of the British selection committee, describes 1993 as 'a crunch year' for show jumping, writes Genevieve Murphy. His main goal is to assist Britain in regaining the European team title at Gijon, Spain, from 28 July to 1 August, but he also recognises an urgent need to give international experience to younger riders.

Bullman's policy will be implemented from 27 April to 1 May in Rome, the venue for the first Nations Cup meeting of the year where three leading British riders, John and Michael Whitaker and Nick Skelton, will be joined by two younger riders, Paul Sutton and Warren Clarke.

Until now there has been little more than lip service to the idea of exposing the more promising, young riders to international competition, so Bullman's commitment to nurturing youthful talent has to be welcomed.

Sutton, 27, has his chance following some fine performances at Olympia last December. Clarke, 23, who was on the winning Nations Cup team in Madrid last year, has been chosen in the belief that he has a horse of championship potential in Benjumin II.

Also waiting in the wings is Peter Murphy, 23, who has already made some impact on the international scene and now has an impressive new mount in nine-year-old Orthos, with whom he has competed in seven competitions without having a single fence down.

BRITISH TEAM (for Nations Cup meeting, 27 April to 1 May, Rome): W Clarke, N Skelton, P Sutton, J Whitaker, M Whitaker. Reserve: R Smith.