Unfortunately DHI Topper W, ridden by Piggy French, has incurred an injury that means he will not be fit to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the equestrian (eventing) competitions.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has confirmed that Nicola Wilson (35) from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, riding Opposition Buzz owned by Miss Rosemary Search has been selected to replace Piggy and DHI Topper W.
Commenting on her selection Nicola Wilson said:
“It’s horrific and fabulous at the same time; I just don’t know what to say; I’m devastated for Piggy and wouldn’t wish this on anybody, she’s become a very close friend and I feel for her so much.
“What an emotional rollercoaster, obviously I’m so excited for Rosemary, myself and my support team but so saddened at the same time for it to be at the expense of such a good friend. To be thinking about London now is amazing though - having very much told myself it wouldn’t happen. We’ll definitely be ready.”
Piggy French commented:
“What can I say, I am devastated; my dreams are shattered but most of all I feel so sorry for my support team that have been such a vital part of my success and also for my family and joint owners, the Underwoods. I wish the Team all the best for the Games and look forward to being back on the Team in the future.”
Will Connell, Equestrian Team Leader commented:
“Piggy will be completely devastated and all of us feel so very sorry for her, her support team and her owners; Piggy is a truly outstanding athlete, a wonderful Team member and one of life’s good human beings. However, horses have a habit of giving great highs but also terrible lows.
“We aim to always select as early as possible (many Nations have not yet selected) and one of the knock on effects of this is that there is a longer period between selection and the Championships and thus a longer period of time in which horses can encounter a problem: The horses have to be fit, especially for the terrain we will encounter at Greenwich and they cannot be wrapped in cotton wool.
“Whilst we feel for Piggy we must look forward and we now welcome Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz. What a wonderful combination joins the Team; Nicola and Opposition Buzz have been the pathfinders for the Team at the last three Championships and have an enviable Championship record.”
Eventing Performance Manager Yogi Breisner commented:
"I feel extremely sorry for Piggy and it is a real shame not to be able to have her on the Team. I am sure a rider of Piggy’s talent, and with the backing she has, she will be back on future Teams. It is great to have a reserve of the calibre of Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz to bring on to the Team, and preparations will continue as planned."