World Class Performance Director Will Connell has announced he is to leave the British Equestrian Federation after this year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Having been instrumental in increasing the levels of success in equestrian sport, Will departs to take up the position of Director of Sport for the United States Equestrian Federation after eleven years in post.
A former Commanding Officer of The King's Troop RHA, Will was appointed to the position of Performance Director in 2003. In this role he took on the responsibility for the co-ordination and delivery of the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme which covers the disciplines of eventing, dressage, showjumping and para-equestrian dressage.
He was Team Leader for the equestrian sports at the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004; Beijing, 2008 and London 2012 and Chef de Mission at the 2006 and 2010 World Equestrian Games. In 2012 Will was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list in recognition of his services to equestrian sport.
Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the British Equestrian Federation said “Will Connell has been an outstanding Performance Director; he has worked day and night for the cause. We will miss him and wish him well in his new challenge.”
Commenting on the news Will Connell said:
“This has been a very hard decision for me; I have been Performance Director for nearly 11 years and have worked closely with many who have given their all to the World Class Programme and Equestrian Team GBR. Being part of the journey over the last 11 years has been an honour and a privilege; London 2012 was of course the highlight but there have been many others in terms of what the Programme, the riders, the horses, the owners, the staff and all those who support them have achieved.
“I believe the Programme is in a very good shape and success in Rio 2016 for the GBR equestrian teams is well mapped out. The support we enjoy from UK Sport, the BOA and BPA is second to none and I will miss working with them. I wish all involved with the Programme and Team GBR the very best for the future: I am and always will be British but I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of me as I take up my new role as Director of Sport for the United States Equestrian Federation.
“My immediate focus and aim is to do all I can to help Equestrian Team GBR meet its UK Sport targets and deliver medals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014.”
An exact date for his departure has not been set.