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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Skelton back in the saddle
Nick Skelton
Skelton hopes to compete again at international level
Top showjumper Nick Skelton has announced he is to make a comeback - 18 months after being told he must never ride again.

Skelton, 44, suffered severe neck injuries in a fall at a show in Cheshire and was warned another injury could prove fatal.

But on Wednesday the Warwickshire rider, who won three European championship gold medals, said he had sought a second opinion - and had been told that his injury has mended well.

"I've missed competing more than anything else and can't wait to get back in the ring," he said.

Specialist tests

In September 2000, Skelton fell from his horse and damaged a vertebra in his neck, causing the ligament to break.

He spent months in a metal neck brace, before announcing in February 2001 that doctors said he should never ride again.

But recent specialist tests by a renowned neurosurgeon in Germany showed the injury has recovered well.

This year, for the first time since his fall, he will be riding four horses on the County Show circuit.

And if the four horses, including eight-year-old Arko, prove up to the mark, Skelton hopes to be back competing at international level in 2003.

Medal winner

Skelton was a regular in British line-ups since his early 20s.

At the height of his career he was regarded as one of the top riders in the world, winning four team medals at World Championships and six at Europeans.

He also claimed individual bronze at the 1986 World Championships and the 1987 European Championships.

A spokeswoman for the British Showjumping Association said: "He has been jumping since he was 17.

"He's missed it to such a degree that he's delighted to be back."


Click here to go to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
See also:

09 Feb 01 | Other Sports
Skelton: A true team player
09 Feb 01 | Other Sports
Showjumper Skelton bows out
09 Sep 00 | Equestrian
Skelton in hospital after fall
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