Equestrianism: Whitaker to miss World Games

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The Independent Online
THE GREAT BRITAIN show jumping selectors had an easy task yesterday when they met to pick the last two riders for the World Equestrian Games, which will be officially opened in Rome on 30 September.

Geoff Billington and John Whitaker, second and fifth in the Calgary Grand Prix on Sunday, were obvious choices. They join the trio who had already qualified through the series of team trials: James Fisher, Di Lampard and Nick Skelton. The more difficult problem of picking the four team riders and the travelling reserve has been postponed to a later date.

Skelton, who was omitted from the European Championships last year, must now be first choice for the team after three grand prix victories (including the lucrative one in Calgary) on Virtual Village Hopes are High, with whom he teamed up in July.

This time it is Michael Whitaker, another regular team member, who misses out. The last time Whitaker was on the sidelines at a major championship was in 1988 at the Olympic Games in Seoul. He has otherwise been chosen every year from 1984 to 1997.

The show jumping squad is the last to be named for Britain, one of the eight nations out of 42 entered who will be sending full teams in all five disciplines.

GREAT BRITAIN TEAM (for World Equestrian Games, Rome, 30 Sep-11 Oct): Show jumping: G Billington (Virtual Village It's Otto), J Fisher (Renville), D Lampard ( Abbervail Dream), N Skelton (Virtual Village Hopes are High) J Whitaker (Virtual Village Heyman). Three-day event: P Beckett (Watermark III), J Brakewell (Over to You), K Dixon (Too Smart), G Parsonage (Magic Rogue), P Phillipps (Coral Cove) N Taylor (The Frenchman II). Reserve: C Ridley (Mistatiger). Dressage: R Davison (Hiscox Askari), F Eilberg (Arun Tor), E Faurie (Legrini) S Phillips (Fun). Reserves: F Bigwood (Macho), K Mepham (Dikkiloo). Driving (four-horse teams): G Bowman, G Bowman Jnr, P Thomas. Reserve: K Bassett. Men's vaulting: D Bentley, P Beasley. Women's vaulting: R Townsend, J Croft, F Jones. Team vaulting: P Beasley, J Eccles, K Hunt, L McElnay, H MacGillivray, D Mackay, P Murray, M Rawlinson, A Rogerson, G Russell.