Equestrianism: Star cast at Olympia will be led by Pessoa

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The Independent Online
RODRIGO PESSOA, who holds both the World Cup and the individual world championship title, will be a star attraction at the Olympia Show Jumping Championships which begin their five-day run today.

The gifted Brazilian underlined his talents with victory at the World Games in October where the four finalists rode their own and each other's horses. Two of the riders defeated by Pessoa - Germany's Franke Sloothaak and Willi Melliger, of Switzerland, - will also be competing at the London show.

As usual Olympia, which offers just under pounds 230,000 in prizemoney, has attracted a far classier field than any other British show this year - with 21 overseas competitors from 10 countries taking on 15 Britons. Sloothaak, the former world champion, will be joined by two other members of the winning German team from the World Games - Ludger Beerbaum, the European champion, and Lars Nieberg.

Ireland's Trevor Coyle, the leader on the Western European League of the World Cup, will also be competing with Cruising. Coyle will be looking to extend his lead when he competes in the Traxdata World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

Michael Whitaker, currently lying in sixth place, is hoping to earn more points with Virtual Village Ashley on Saturday. His elder brother, John, will be anxious to earn his first points of the season with either Grannusch or Welham. Last year Welham injured a tendon at Olympia and was out of action for eight months. He came back in sparkling form for The Horse of the Year Show at Wembley in late September, when winning all three of the classes that he contested.