Ireland’s eventing team hires Kiwi showjumper for Olympic run-up

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Grant Wilson in his new Team Ireland livery. He is the new showjumping coach for Ireland's eventing team.
Grant Wilson in his new Team Ireland livery. He is the new showjumping coach for Ireland’s eventing team.

Kiwi showjumper Grant Wilson has been appointed as jumping coach to Ireland’s eventing team in its lead-up to the 2020 Olympic Games.

The New Zealand-born international rider replaces Ian Fearon, who took a step back from his coaching role with the team last month.

Wilson, 45, has been based in Brussels in Belgium for almost 25 years and has represented New Zealand at Nations Cup level and at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen. Wilson has worked with the Belgian Junior and Young Rider European Bronze Medal winning showjumping team, as well coaching in Australia, USA and the United Kingdom.

Wilson is no stranger to eventing, having trained Belgian Olympic rider Karin Donckers for more than 13 years, and he also works with Astier Nicolas – member of the French Gold medal winning Eventing Team at the Rio Olympics, and with Canada’s Rebecca Howard, who finished 10th individually in Rio. He also works with several of New Zealand’s eventing riders including Dan Jocelyn, Blyth Tait and James Avery, as well as British Eventers such as World Equestrian Games team gold medal winner Tom McEwen, Holly Woodhead and Rodney Powell.

“It is a great honour to be appointed the Show Jumping Coach for the Irish Eventing Squad through to Tokyo 2020,” Wilson said following his appointment.

“Ireland has some very exciting and talented riders, and I look forward to the challenge of carrying on with the great success of the Individual and Team Silver medal wins at the World Equestrian Games in 2018.”

Irish Eventing Team Manager Sally Corcadden said she was delighted to have secured a showjumping coach of Wilson’s calibre and experience. “Not only has he competed at the highest level in pure Show Jumping, he also brings invaluable knowledge of the sport of Eventing through the many riders he has prepared for previous Olympics.”

Wilson had already held clinics with Irish riders in Ireland and Britain, Corcadden said, and they had been very well received.

“This year will be spent getting to know the horse and rider combinations both in training and competition, which will help focus Olympic preparations in 2020.”

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