Connell to leave role as world class performance director

02 July 2014 / 19:28

World class performance director Will Connell insists Great Britain is in great shape ahead of Rio 2016 despite announcing he is set to leave the British Equestrian Federation.

A former Commanding Officer of The King's Troop RHA, Connell was appointed performance director in 2003.

During his time in the role he was team leader for the equestrian sports at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004; Beijing 2008 and London 2012 – helping Team GB claim four medals at the latter.

Connell was also chef de mission at the 2006 and 2010 World Equestrian Games and in 2012 was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his services to equestrian sport.

However, following the conclusion of this year’s World Equestrian Games he will vacate his position after 11 years to become director of sport for the United States Equestrian Federation.

“This has been a very hard decision for me; I have been Performance Director for nearly 11 years and have worked closely with many who have given their all to the World Class Programme and Equestrian Team GBR,” Connell said.

“Being part of the journey over the last 11 years has been an honour and a privilege; London 2012 was of course the highlight but there have been many others in terms of what the Programme, the riders, the horses, the owners, the staff and all those who support them have achieved. 

“I believe the Programme is in a very good shape and success in Rio 2016 for the GBR equestrian teams is well mapped out. 

“The support we enjoy from UK Sport, the BOA and BPA is second to none and I will miss working with them. I wish all involved with the Programme and Team GBR the very best for the future.”

Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission, added: "Will has been one of our most active, respected and popular Team Leaders over the past 11 years and has been a fantastic supporter of Team GB.

"He worked tirelessly to ensure his team was exceptionally well prepared for an Olympic Games.  At London 2012 in both the Olympic and Paralympic competition, every equestrian discipline medalled - a first for any sport at the Games, and testament to Will’s leadership.

"His willingness to share knowledge and contribute to the development of our plans has ensured he has always played a significant role in the success of the wider Team GB. 

"He’ll be hugely missed on both a personal and professional level, and our thanks go to him for his incredible hard work to the cause. We wish him every success with his new challenge."

© Sportsbeat 2014