Britain look to Edwards in drive for medals

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The Independent Online

Britain's equestrian squad will be expected to bring back medals from Sydney, according to Simon Clegg of the British Olympic Association who have provided more than half the cost of £500,000 to send teams from all three disciplines to Australia. The rest of the money will come from the British Equestrian Federation Sydney 2000 Fund and the lottery.

Britain's equestrian squad will be expected to bring back medals from Sydney, according to Simon Clegg of the British Olympic Association who have provided more than half the cost of £500,000 to send teams from all three disciplines to Australia. The rest of the money will come from the British Equestrian Federation Sydney 2000 Fund and the lottery.

"It has to be said that the equestrian team has underperformed in recent Olympics," Clegg said here yesterday, when the teams were announced. "We must now have the best prepared equestrian squad ever to leave these shores and we'll be looking for medals." Those listening were left to wonder whether BOA and lottery funding would dry up if medals were not forthcoming.

There were no surprises to accompany the announcement of the teams. Carl Edwards, one of the four show jumping riders selected, would have been the least predictable choice if it had not already been known that Di Lampard had been omitted. With Lampard out, it was obvious that Edwards was in.

This was the realisation of a lifetime's ambition which was made all the sweeter by the fact that Edwards had been selected with a home-bred mare, Bit More Candy. He was scarcely considered an Olympic candidate at the start of the year, but double clear rounds in Nations Cups at Lisbon, Aachen and Gijon obviously made a big impression.

At 36, Edwards will be the youngest member of the team. He joins the two Whitaker brothers, who are both competing in their fourth Olympics, and Geoff Billington, who was best of the British in sixth place individually in Atlanta four years ago.

Eight riders have been selected for the three-day event squad - among them Pippa Funnell, the European champion, and Mary King, who was won at Badminton this year. The team will be confirmed on Tuesday, following the British Open Championships which begin here today. Funnell and King will be competing, though not with their Olympic horses. Karen Dixon and Kristina Gifford may be the only two British riders to complete all three phases with their selected Olympic mounts, though others intend to do the dressage and show jumping before withdrawing.

Three previous Olympic riders - Richard Davison, Carl Hester and Emile Faurie - have been chosen for the dressage team. They are joined by Kirsty Mepham, who makes her Olympic debut on Dikkiloo. The horse, who stands nearly 17.2 hands high, was bought cheaply nine years ago after being part of Peter Munt's carriage driving team.

Great Britain Olympic equestrian squad: Show Jumping: G Billington (It's Otto), C Edwards (Bit More Candy), J Whitaker (Calvaro), M Whitaker (Ashley / Prince of Wales). Three-Day Event: J Brakewell (Over to You), K Dixon (Too Smart), P Funnell (Supreme Rock), K Gifford (The Gangster), M King (Star Appeal), L Law (Shear H2O), R Powell (Flintstone IV), I Stark (Arakai/Jaybee). Dressage: R Davison (Askari), E Faurie (Tiamo Trocadero/Rascher Hopes), C Hester (Argentile Gullit), K Mepham (Dikkiloo) .

Great Britain team for paralympic games (19-29 October, Sydney): D Criddle, A Dunham, K Gebbie, J Jackson, L Pearson, N Tustain, D Tubbs.

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