Maher: Self-belief key to games success

01 July 2012 / 14:46

Ben Maher believes Great Britain's Olympic showjumpers will operate in a "no excuses" environment at London 2012.

Former British number one Maher has been named in a four-strong British team for Greenwich Park alongside Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Peter Charles.

It will be Maher's second Olympics and the sixth appearance for 54-year-old Skelton, but Scottish star Brash makes his Olympic debut, as does Charles in British colours following two previous Games when he represented Ireland.

Britain have not won an Olympic showjumping medal since securing a team silver in Los Angeles 28 years ago, while their last individual gong came at Munich 12 years previously.

Team chief Rob Hoekstra has masterminded a notable upturn in fortunes since he was appointed in February 2010, and Britain can claim some impressive Nations Cup victories during Hoekstra's reign, while they also won a European team bronze medal in Madrid last September when Maher and Skelton played important roles.

"The key to being a successful team is belief," Hertfordshire-based Maher told Press Association Sport. "We have a really strong team spirit and everyone is fighting for the same cause. That gives an edge to a team.

"You also need luck over a number of days in a championship event, but I think the main thing is to know your horse and have that combination between horse and rider. The biggest thing Rob has managed to do well is to get everyone under control. Not that we were out of control, but he has got everyone pinned down.

"It is a really positive environment. We have everything in place and there are no excuses. Rob has given different people different chances - no-one can probably say they didn't get the chance."

Maher will be aboard his Olympia World Cup and Valencia Global Champions Tour winner Tripple X III in London, with current world number three Skelton riding Big Star, Scotsman Brash on Hello Sanctos and Hampshire-based Charles riding Murka's Vindicat W.

Tina Fletcher and Hello Sailor are the reserve combination for London. Among those riders who miss out are experienced Olympians John and Michael Whitaker, Guy Williams and Tim Stockdale, who recovered from a broken neck suffered just seven months ago to make his London selection push.