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Duvander resigns from Equestrian Sports NZ

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/10/2016

High performance coach Erik Duvander has resigned from Equestrian Sports New Zealand after a decade in the role.

Duvander, who competed in the Swedish eventing team at the 1992 Olympics, says he wants to spend more time with his family and has no plans to continue in the sport.

The 54-year-old was named New Zealand coach in 2006 after coaching in Japan and Sweden although his involvement began well before then when he linked with New Zealand great Sir Mark Todd in the 1980s.

His role took on a high performance and selection element after the 2008 Olympics and he has made a positive change since then, overseeing a programme which resulted in multiple four-star wins to five different riders - Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Caroline Powell, Jock Paget and Tim Price.

Kiwi riders are regular features on four-star leaderboards although Duvander admits they have fallen short of expectations at the last two Olympics.

One of his key decisions was to shift the high performance programme to the United Kingdom ahead of the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, resulting in several Kiwi-based riders, including Paget, shifting stables.

"They must have had trust in us and believed in our conviction that this was the best way forward," he said.

"I wanted to have riders develop from our national programme to the international scene and be successful."

Duvander's most testing period came when three-time Olympic medallist Nicholson pulled out of the high performance programme two years ago in Normandy following a disagreement with a team vet.

Duvander supported the vet and Nicholson hasn't competed for his country since, missing selection for August's Rio Olympics as he returned from a serious neck injury.

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