Key appointments for Team GBR paras

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Mon, 13 May 2019 11:28 GMT

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is delighted to confirm the appointment of GEORGINA SHARPLES as the new Performance Manager for Para-equestrian Dressage. 

The British Para-equestrian Dressage team is one of the most successful in the world – with the Rio 2016 Paralympics and Tryon 2018 WEG yielding 15 medals in total. 

Georgina will work with such riders as Paralympic gold-medallists Sir Lee Pearson CBE, Sophie Wells MBE and Natasha Baker MBE. She will lead the team at international competitions, European Championships, World Championships and Paralympic Games. 

A former international hockey player and bobsledder, Georgina led the Trampoline Programme at British Gymnastics, and is no stranger to Paralympic sport having been Head of Performance at ParalympicsGB overseeing athlete services, Games preparation, classification, sport science and sport medicine since London 2012. 

Georgina will take up the Para-Dressage role whilst retaining a Head of Performance Support strategic role with the English Institute of Sport (EIS) across the Equestrian Team GBR World Class Programme (WCP). The BEF will continue to work in collaboration with the EIS on further developments in this area.

Commenting on her new role Georgina said “I am delighted to be joining the team and immensely privileged to have the opportunity to lead such a well-regarded and high-performing World Class Programme on the journey to Tokyo 2020 and beyond. This is a really exciting time to be involved. It is a Programme with strength in depth; established medal-winning partnerships, exciting developing combinations, talented athletes combined with an incredible support team and I know we will relish the journey as we fully focus on our preparation for delivering personal best performances next summer in Tokyo 2020.”
Performance Director at the BEF, Vikki Underwood, says “We are delighted that Georgina will take up the role of Performance Manager for the Para-equestrian Dressage Programme following a unanimous decision by the selection panel. We will also continue to benefit from her retaining the strategic leadership of the Performance Support services which will be critical as we move closer to Tokyo and the new Paris cycle.”

The BEF is also delighted to announce that ERIK MACKECHNIE-GUIRE will be the new Performance Pathway Manager for Para-equestrian Dressage.

There are exceptional riders coming through the ranks and Erik will work alongside these riders to support them on their journey to the podium.

Erik has more than 20 years’ experience working with high performance athletes including as a coach with the Team GBR Para-equestrian Dressage team and as Para-equestrian High Performance Manager with Team Australia. 

Commenting on his new role, Erik said “It is a really exciting time to be joining the team. I am looking forward to working with an outstanding team of practitioners who collectively underpin and support our Paralympic athletes to create an environment where our athletes can grow and develop to achieve Podium success for Team GBR”.

Erik and Georgina will work together to deliver an effective programme that recognises potential, encourages growth and drives medal success in Tokyo 2020, Paris 2024, Los Angeles 2028 and beyond.

BEF Chief Executive Nick Fellows, says “I am delighted with these new appointments and the high level commitment we are able to demonstrate to our Paralympic programme. Both Georgina and Erik have excellent knowledge and experience and know our team well. They will bring an added edge to our preparations for Tokyo 2020 and help us ensure we maximise all possible performance advantages as well as building the programme for the future.”