Stockdale set for Cup opportunity

10 May 2012 / 16:25

Tim Stockdale will be given an opportunity to press claims for a place in Great Britain's Olympic showjumping team - seven months after breaking his neck.

Team chief Rob Hoekstra has confirmed to Press Association Sport that he intends selecting Stockdale for one of the early-season Nations Cup events, either Rome on May 25 or St Gallen in Switzerland a week later.

Stockdale, 47, broke his neck in three places after falling from a horse he was trying out in north Wales last October. The Northamptonshire-based 2008 Olympian spent almost six weeks immobilised at a specialist spinal unit in Oswestry, but he has started competitive riding again and is on Hoekstra's selection radar.

"Tim has showed very good form since he has come back from injury," Hoekstra said. "He has gone very well recently, and he will get an opportunity to go to either the Rome or St Gallen Nations Cup events."

Although British number one Nick Skelton and last year's Olympia Rolex World Cup winner Ben Maher would appear to have cemented places in a four-strong British team for London, Hoekstra insists that selection is wide open.

Skelton, individual bronze medallist at the 2011 European Championships in Madrid, captured several top classes at the recent Florida Winter Festival, while he also took the Antwerp Grand Prix title last weekend.

Maher, meanwhile, defeated a world-class field to land the Valencia Global Champions' Tour crown five days ago, and both riders will be part of Great Britain's team for the Nations Cup opener in La Baule, France on Friday.

"I think selection for London is very open," Hoekstra added. "Obviously, Nick has had an unbelievably good run and Ben has a championship horse and has very good form, but it really is very open.

"It is more open now than it has been at any stage, and it is going to be very much on form the riders show at La Baule, Rome, St Gallen and then Rotterdam, after which the final decision will be taken."

Olympic contenders Peter Charles, Guy Williams and Scott Brash will join Skelton and Maher at La Baule, where Britain are targeting a strong start in their attempt to build on last season's impressive overall Nations Cup finish of third.