Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Para Equestrian: Simon Laurens retires from International para-equestrian dressage

British Equestrian Federation Press Rlease
Wednesday 5th January 2010

It is with great regret that para-equestrian dressage rider Simon Laurens has made the difficult decision to stand down from International Para-Equestrian Dressage competition and to retire from the World Class Programme Performance Squad.

Simon commented; “This has been a very difficult decision and I have thought very carefully for a number of months before making this announcement. For personal reasons competing at International level is becoming more and more difficult. I have also been looking very hard for a successor to my current ride, Ocean Diamond (Derek), for the last 12 months and have tried some lovely horses, but have not found a horse that I believe I can win a medal with in London 2012.

“It has become increasingly difficult for me to carry on competing in the current global climate and I have therefore made the very difficult decision to hang up my international boots. I intend to remain involved in the sport and help promote para-equestrian dressage. I am very grateful for all the support I have received from my friends, family, coach and the World Class Programme. I wish the squad good luck for 2012 and expect them to win a bucket full of medals.”

BEF’s Performance Director, Will Connell, commented; “This announcement by Simon is a very sad day for the sport. Not only has Simon proven himself an outstanding athlete, winning medals for Team GBR at Paralympic Games, European and World level, Simon is also a fantastic Team member. He gives freely of his time to help promote his sport and encourages others to try riding. He always has a smile on his face and a ready quip that helps maintain a very positive and enjoyable team atmosphere. We will miss him in the Team and the World Class Programme Squad but I hope that we will see a great deal of him.”

David Hunter (BEF’s Performance Manager for Para-Equestrian Dressage) commented; “Sad though it is, I fully support and respect Simon’s decision to retire from International Para Dressage and step down from the World Class Programme. I know it has been a difficult decision for Simon to make as he has shared and discussed his thoughts with me throughout the process.

“He will be missed by all of his fellow GB riders and World Class staff and by the huge number of the friends and acquaintances he has made on the international stage. We all wish him and his partner John well for the future.”

The World Class Programme incorporates the three Olympic sports of dressage, eventing, show jumping and the Paralympic sport of para-equestrian dressage. It comprises the Performance and Development programmes plus the Equine Pathway.

The aim of the Programme is to have in place a sustainable system that can deliver more Medals on the International stage now and in the future. It is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, through Exchequer and National Lottery funds, via UK Sport.


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