Updated: 26/06/2012 08:09 | By pa.press.net

Maher wants to recapture glory days



Ben Maher feels GB's showjumpers need to cash in on home advantage

Ben Maher feels GB's showjumpers need to cash in on home advantage

Ben Maher is determined to see British showjumping recapture "the glory days" that have deserted it for too long.

Maher should be confirmed in the next few days as part of Great Britain's London 2012 showjumping team.

The Hertfordshire-based rider, an Olympian four years ago, looks set to be joined by Nick Skelton and Scott Brash at Greenwich Park, with probably Peter Charles or Tina Fletcher completing the quartet.

Team chief Rob Hoekstra and his fellow selector Di Lampard are currently putting the finishing touches to a team on which British Olympic hopes will be pinned.

Both the dressage and eventing teams are widely expected to be serious London medal contenders, with star performers like Carl Hester and William Fox-Pitt additionally challenging strongly for individual honours.

The showjumpers could also make a mark - they were European team bronze medalists in Madrid last September - even if recent Olympic history suggests otherwise. It is 28 years since Britain won an Olympic showjumping team medal, while 1972 was the last time they enjoyed an individual podium finish.

Britain collected five individual Olympic showjumping medals between 1960 and 1972, courtesy of David Broome (twice), Peter Robeson, Ann Moore and Marian Coakes, but the cupboard has been largely bare since then.

"We need to get our sport back to the glory days," Maher said. "I remember when I was just a kid and being mesmerised by all of those big name riders and dreaming of being there and competing at the highest level one day.

"Things have slipped back. While other countries have raised their game, perhaps we stood still, but our sport has a long history in this country.

"We need one thing just to lift it, and then hopefully we will be a bit more centre stage. It is going to be difficult to win a medal. The fences are big, there are good teams, but home ground in London is something that needs to be taken full advantage of."

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