In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, the 61-year old Dutch chef d'equipe Sjef Janssen has explicitly stated that he's counting in Anky van Grunsven on the Dutch team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
With only seven months to go until the Games in Greenwich park, Janssen is hoping that many young Grand Prix combinations in The Netherlands will rise to their potential and become top scorers in a short period of time to guarantee team gold at the Olympics, a medal which they have never won so far.
After months of dilly-dallying Anky has made up her mind and is going to the Games. The only thing she's not sure of is her ride: Salinero or Upido. "She's no longer doubting whether she'll go, but which horse to take," Janssen explained. "I hope Upido, a talented horse. There is the tendency that judges score younger horses higher."
While Great Britain is considered to be the hot favourite for team gold on home turf with three high scoring horses, The Netherlands only has one top combination at the moment: European and World Cup Champion Adelinde Cornelissen. The Nijkerk based Cornelissen is a hopeful for individual gold and is ready for the Games. "I'm on schedule and Parzival is getting better each day," she said at the 2012 CDI-W Amsterdam last weekend.
Janssen will need two extra strong pairs to complete a medal-potential team. "We have many irons in the fire, but none of them are red hot," Janssen told Algemaan Dagblad. The Dutch team coach recently listed Grand Prix newcomers Vontango B (Madeleine Witte), Upido (Anky van Grunsven), Toots (Imke Schellekens-Bartels), Donna Silver (Hans Peter Minderhoud), Uzzo (Patrick van der Meer) and Romanov (Edward Gal) as pairs to consider for a team spot.
"They are promising horses which hopefully will break through. We are training day and night, otherwise you can better go fishing," Sjef explained.
There are a few older horses up for consideration as well: Tango (Hans Peter Minderhoud), Sisther de Jeu and Next One (Edward Gal), Krawall (Jenny Schreven), Moedwil (Sander Marijnissen) and the recovering Sunrise (Imke Schellekens-Bartels).
Janssen has marked two observation trials on the calendar as official selection events -- Rotterdam and the Dutch Championships -- after which he'll announce the Dutch Olympic team.
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