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Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 12:18 UK

Meningitis spurred Francis Whittington eventing return

Francis Whittington
Whittington and Sir Percival III were eliminated in the cross-country stage at Badminton

Sussex event rider Francis Whittington says suffering with meningitis motivated him to return to the sport.

The 32-year-old from Rotherfield did not ride for four weeks until returning at the Badminton Horse Trials in April.

He told BBC Sussex: "While I was lying in hospital and I was really ill, a lot of things were going through my mind.

"I realised how fortunate and lucky I was to be doing what I did and I wanted to make sure that I fought to come back and carry on doing this."

Whittington says his desire to ride his horse Sir Percival III at Badminton played a part in his recovery.

"I went into the hospital and they told me I wouldn't be leaving for the best part of three or four weeks, if not longer," he said.

"They said there's no chance I'd be riding, but being stubborn enough and focusing on that goal helped me to get better.

"Having an amazing team of people behind me to help keep the horse in training helped me to go there and compete."

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see also
Equestrian sport on the BBC
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Townend secures Badminton victory
10 May 09 |  Equestrian

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