March 12 2014 Latest news:
Michael Bailey , London Olympics correspondent
Thursday, June 14, 2012
North Elmham eventer Piggy French has had her place at this summer’s London Olympics officially ratified by the British Olympic Association on Thursday.
It means the 31-year-old from near Dereham will take either Jakata or DHI Topper W to Greenwich Park as she bids for a medal on her Olympic debut, between July 28-31.
French will hope to reproduce the form she found when winning individual gold at the Olympic Test event in Greenwich last year, having also won silver at the 2009 European Championships and team bronze at the 2011 event alongside William Fox-Pitt and Mary King – who also made Team GB’s list of five for the summer’s Games.
“I am overly excited and very relieved,” admitted French. “It is what my team and I have been working towards over the last few years so it’s excellent to be getting this far; we just have to hope and pray that they stay in one piece to get there.
“I have to say a massive thank you to my owners for their support; I wouldn’t have got to this stage without them.
“Obviously I am confident that ‘Topper’ will cope with the going there because of our experience at the test event, but they are both amazing horses with different strengths. We will make a decision nearer the time based on who is feeling on the best form nearer the Games.”
Kristina Cook from Worthing and Zara Phillips complete the eventing squad, with the latter following in the footsteps of both her mother Princess Anne and father Captain Mark Phillips by representing Great Britain in eventing at an Olympic Games.
Phillips will also be competing in her first Olympics, after injuries to her ride denied her places in Athens and Beijing.
“I’m so happy to be given this opportunity; my horse High Kingdom was full of running at his last event and has been improving all the time,” she said.
“High Kingdom is a pretty cool, relaxed kind of guy; he’s pony-like, a nippy little jumper and easy to manoeuvre, so hopefully it will suit him well in Greenwich. I have a lot of faith in him.”
Team GB’s total of announced Olympic competitors now stands at 247 athletes across 21 sports – Team GB will compete in all 26 sports on the Olympic Programme, with the final team expected to consist of approximately 550 athletes.