French show jumpers react with disappointment to reported dismissal of chef d'équipe

Kevin Staut and Philippe Guerdat at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio
Credit : Scoopdyga

Wednesday 12 December - 15h56 | Lucas Tracol

French show jumpers react with disappointment to reported dismissal of chef d'équipe

With the dismissal of Philippe Guerdat as chef d’équipe of the French national show jumping team – part of an effort to change the country’s strategy in the sport, and first reported on GrandPrix-Replay last Friday – is no longer in doubt (even though the French Equestrian Federation (FFE) has delayed confirming the decision), many of the country’s riders opposed to the decision have spoken out to thank the Swiss national for his work.

 - French show jumpers react with disappointment to reported dismissal of chef d'équipe

Philippe Guerdat with Olivier Robert and Penelope Leprevost at the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona.
Credit : Scoopdyga

Highly invested in his role since February, 2013, Philippe Guerdat, father of champion rider Steve Guerdat, will be remembered as one of the great coaches of the French national show jumping team. That is in any case the view reflected in the comments of many riders who have been bidding farewell to Guerdat.

Among them are Penelope Leprevost, who said she was saddened by the departure of the coach who led her and her teammates to a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. “Tonight, I extend my friendship and support for Philippe Guerdat, a coach and a friend – a technical supporter but also a moral one,” she wrote online. “His departure saddens me." Brought into the first team thanks to Guerdat, Cédric Angot also posted a message on social media: “I will never forget his thoughtful advice before I went out to compete." Selected by the Swiss team leader as a reservist for the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Marc Dilasser also reached out to Guerdat: "Thank-you for your authenticity and your frankness. The French team owes you a lot.”
On Saturday, CSI5* rider Kevin Staut spoke to, expressing his regret over the reported decision of the Federation. Olivier Robert, another of the country’s riders, shared Staut's interview online and wrote, "Thank-you Philippe for everything you did for me, my owners, my sponsors – you oversaw my program for six years and you helped me progress!" Indeed, Kevin Staut's interview was shared by many riders online, including Alexis Deroubaix, ninth at the Tryon FEI World Equestrian Games: "Congratulations and thank-you to Kevin for this lucid and fair analysis!". For his part, Emeric George added: "Thank-you Kevin Staut for your thoughts, not a comma to change!"
A rider with the French national eventing team, Arnaud Boiteau, also wanted to speak about the end of Guerdat’s tenure. "The reasons can not be commented on but the regret of losing a man of great worth deserves to be mentioned,” he said. “Simplicity, efficiency, pragmatism and sensitivity are qualities that particularly comet to mind when I think of him. Thank-you for your dedication and total involvement, Philippe."

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