Miracle man Skelton brings gold to town

Patricia mc crumm with nick skelton and laura kraut during the dublin horse show 18/8/2012 photo by Laurence dunne Jumpinaction.net
Patricia mc crumm with nick skelton and laura kraut during the dublin horse show 18/8/2012 photo by Laurence dunne Jumpinaction.net

NICK Skelton’s gold success at London 2012 was the fairytale story of the Olympic Games and his landmark medal will be on display in Lurgan on Sunday.

The 54-year-old who successfully battled career-threatening injuries to help deliver Great Britain’s first showjumping gold medal in 60 years at a euphoric Greenwich Park is the special guest at The Meadows Equestrian Centre which hosts a two-day showjumping spectacular over the weekend.

Nick, who will be displaying his gold medal, will attend on Sunday to present prizes to the winners, sign autographs and to take part in photo opportunities. US showjumper Laura Kraut is also hoping that her schedule will allow her to be at the show.

“We are really thrilled that Nick is able to attend,” said MEC Events Secretary Patricia McCrum. “Everyone is very excited. We met Nick at the Dublin Horse Show a few weeks ago and he confirmed that he would come along. After his remarkable gold in London his schedule is hectic so we are honoured that he can make it.”

Patricia hoped that not only those interested in horses or showjumping would come along. “This is a chance for everyone to come along and see a sporting star up close. His is a remarkable story. Considering what he has come through in his life to what he has achieved at the Olympics is a miracle in many ways. It’s an opportunity for everyone to come along and give him a big Lurgan welcome.”

It was 12 years ago Nick Skelton fell off his horse during the Park Gate Horse Trials, falling head first in an accident which broke his neck in two places. With the upper half of his spine immobilised for five months, he was told by doctors that another fall could prove fatal and was forced to retire. However, after consultation with a German specialist, the bones eventually healed and he returned to competition a year later.

After six Games he finally hit gold in London playing his part in probably the biggest achievement ever for British showjumping.

The two-day event at The Meadows is the final of the Ulster Grand Prix, sponsored by Clive Richardson Civil Engineering and Sports Ground Construction, with a superb prize fund of £5,000 up for grabs.

Classes on Saturday consist of Sportsmans horse and pony showjumping running from 80cm-1m, and SJI horse showjumping from 90cm-1.30m.

Both arenas will be in full use over the two days. On Sunday Arena 1 starts with the final of the 1.10m Ulster Region League, followed by the final of the Ulster Region Grand Prix Series. The 1.20m, 90cm and 1m classes will be taking place in Arena 2. Gold medal hero Skelton is due to arrive on Sunday around 1.00pm.

Other attractions will include a dog show starting on both days at 2pm, with classes available for all.