WHEN taking up horse riding 10 years ago at the age of 12, Tim Page never dreamed of representing Great Britain at an Olympic Games, but with less than four months to go until this summer’s sporting spectacle, the showjumping sensation remains on the cusp of London 2012 selection.
The 22-year-old’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of meteoric, most notably impressing on a national level last year at the Senior Nations Cup in Copenhagen and at the Junior European Champions in Spain.
His obvious early potential was rewarded four years ago when he gained one of 15 much-coveted places amongst the British Equestrian Federation’s UK Sport-funded world class development programme in Solihull, where the brightest riders from across the country are given the best chance to develop with nutritional and health advice, as well as funding from the National Lottery.
This strong early backing to his career, incorporated with strong showings aboard favoured horse Quentin Tarrantino in the last few years and importantly in the run up to the this year’s Games, have propelled him into the thoughts of selectors and with the Olympic showjumping team not confirmed until late May, Page’s prospects of claiming one of five team berths remain positive.
The Badwell Ash-based rider, which is near Walsham-le-Willows, believes consistency is the key in the coming months and despite trying not to focus too much on the Games, Page conceded it would be a dream come true to be selected.
“At the beginning of the year I thought I might have a small chance of making the Olympics, but I never believed it could be as good as it is now,” he said.
“I have a chance of qualifying if everything works out well and I remain consistent above all else because without that I have no hope.
“I try not to focus too much on the Olympics because you can get carried away, but if I was to be selected it would be a dream come true.
“There are some big shows still to come and all I can do is look to keep up my consistency and try and impress the selectors.
“To be able to be part of the Olympic team at 22 would be an amazing experience and I couldn’t ask for anymore.”
A major factor of any equestrian discipline is the relationship built up between the rider and the horse itself.
The former Thurston Community College pupil has spoke about his bond with Quentin Tarrantino, who he has ridden for the past four years, and outlined the harsh reality of equestrian competition that the relationship built up is your only chance of success.
“Quentin is the best horse I have and he gives me the strongest possible chance of qualifying because he is a fantastic horse to have,” he added.
“Having that strong bond with your horse is a massive factor to having success because if you can’t gel then competing strongly is out of the question.
“You can’t just change your horse before a competition and so if things don’t work out then I won’t have a chance of making the Great Britain team.”
Page will be given the chance to impress selectors in early May when he and Quentin travel to Austria to compete in the Linzer Pferdefestival, a high profile event that carries the second highest star rating in terms of level of competition.
The Suffolk youngster is well aware that is his last chance to shine, as he again reflected on what an Olympic appearance would mean to him and the possibility of not only representing his nation but claiming a medal as well.
“It is a chance to shine and if results go my way then it will be a huge boost for me personally, looking ahead to the Olympics,” he added.
“Just being at London 2012 would be amazing for me to be able to gain that experience of a huge tournament.
“If we do get there then I definitely believe we will be able to compete strongly and challenge for a medal.
“It is now time for to fulfil my early promise and hopefully with everything looking to be falling into place I will hopefully be given the chance to do that.”