Our piece of the Action

PUBLISHED: 10:45 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:00 23 August 2010

CHAMP: Rebecca Dobbelly

CHAMP: Rebecca Dobbelly

THE county s top equestrian venue has become popular with international riders ever since it first held the British Eventing Horse Trials six years ago. Now bosses at Nurstead Court, Nurstead Chuch Lane, Meopham, hope to attract top Olympic stars to the

THE county's top equestrian venue has become popular with international riders ever since it first held the British Eventing Horse Trials six years ago.

Now bosses at Nurstead Court, Nurstead Chuch Lane, Meopham, hope to attract top Olympic stars to the venue after it was chosen as a training camp for the Games.

Horses will be accommodated in 14 spacious stables with access to heated tack rooms, wash down areas, drying rooms and a horse solarium.

The stabling is close to all on site international standard training facilities. These include an Olympic size indoor arena with a sound and light system, two outdoor 20m by 60m all weather arenas, a cross country course and a one acre floodlit show jumping arena featuring British Show Jumping Association show jumps.

Guy Edmeades Stearns, the owner of Nurstead Court, said: "We are very happy to have been chosen as a training venue, it underpins what we have been trying to do at Nurstead Court for the last few years, attracting Olympic riders for the international horse trials.

"The preparations for are going really well, we have had a bit of interest so far, and fingers crossed we will attract someone, I don't see why we shouldn't, we are the nearest Equestrian centre to Greenwich Park where the Equestrian events will be held in 2012.

"We want to invest more money into the centre, working towards upgrading the stables and even a water therapy unit for horses for training and rehabilitation.

"Everything we are trying to do is going towards creating a legacy that the community and the area can benefit from after the games are over. Earlier this month the London 2012 Organising Committee announced that the team behind the course design at a number of equestrian venues across the country, including Nurstead Court, had been chosen as the course builder for the cross country course for the Olympic Games. It will be built at Greenwich Park.

Gilly Walliker, the organiser of the successful horse trials which have been held at the venue every year since 2003, said: "To be associated with the team that has been given the job of designing the course for the Olympic Games is great news for Nurstead Court."

A FEMALE amateur boxing champion is a contender for Team GB if a recommendation to include women's boxing in London 2012 is agreed.

Women have not competed in the discipline for over 100 years at the games and Gravesend ABC fighter Rebecca Donnelly feels the time for change is right. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that ladies' boxing should be included at the London showpiece for the first time since 1904. Although the current proposals are only a recommendation it is expected the event will be confirmed in October this year.

She said: "There is still a lot of prejudice against girls fighting in the ring because people tend to view it as barbaric. Some people who are fans of the sport believe that it should only be men in the ring and that women don't possess the same skill.

"We are as highly trained as them though and it isn't just a case of us getting into the ring and battering each other - 2012 will be a great time to show that." The 30-year-old is the current Amateur Boxing Association champion at 60kg after winning the crown in July. If she continues her success she could be counted as almost a certainty to join up with Team GB.

The uptake amongst women in the sport has increased in the last few years and with talented youngsters coming through she faces a battle to stay at the top.

However, the Kent-born boxer is looking forward to the challenge and is determined to show people in her home town what she can do. She said: "There are more girls coming through so I could be knocked off the top in the next three years. That said I am not going to be giving up my national crown without a fight and the dream of fighting in London is something I want to make a reality. The fact that my friends and family live just down the road is an extra incentive."

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