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It's all about winning medals….

The exciting new World Class Start and Potential Programme will focus on supporting and nurturing outstanding riding talent in young people across the Olympic equestrian sports in the UK and improve Great Britain's future success on the world stage. The first group of hugely talented riders (40 aged between 10 and 32) have now formally accepted World Class Start and Potential Manager Victoria Kind's invitation to come on to the programmes for this intensive development year.

The British Equestrian Federation's ambitious 10 year plan was granted Lottery funding by Sport England earlier this year and is still under development by governing bodies, riders, trainers and managers. So, how does it work? The long-term plan is to provide each rider with an entire 'toolkit' of skills, experiences, knowledge and information to equip them to win at senior and international level. Sports scientists, psychologists, nutritionists and fitness experts as well as the world's best riding trainers will help the selected riders to reach their optimum performance. That means having communication skills, being a good ambassador for the sport and being a well rounded person as well as a top athlete.

In fact, World Class Start and Potential are the first two steps in a three stage long-term plan to keep outstanding riders in the sport and become future medal winners - not least gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. We will provide the best opportunity and support to maximise their competitive potential on the long road to success through individually tailored training and management. The elite riders that make it to the top will enter the World Class Performance Programme, which supports riders training and competing at the highest level.

In January 2003 selection will open up to allow anyone to apply. The new process is designed to pick out those individuals who have all the characteristics required to go out there and win at World level. We aren't just looking for talent - the selected riders will be the kind if personalities who have the potential for the long haul to get to compete on the world stage. Information on the selection process and how to apply will be widely available later in the year.

Victoria said, "I strongly believe that with World Class working alongside the programmes each of the disciplines currently have in place we have a very exciting future. If everyone embraces it with enthusiasm and gives it the support it deserves we can give our riders and the sport a real boost and reaffirm our world dominance in all disciplines. We have so much talent out there - World Class just wants to provide a helping hand up the ladder of success."


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