Canada could be better

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

On one hand, Ian Millar believes Canada will send a team to the Pan-American Games good enough to earn an Olympic berth.

On the other hand, Canada's most decorated show jumper believes the five-member squad could be even better.

"Because of the criteria we set out and the riders that went to Europe, it's debatable whether we have the strongest team that we could send," Millar said.

"You hate it when your criteria gets a result that's not the best one and that's essentially what's happened."

Millar was given one of the two committee selection spots on the five-rider team with In Style yesterday. The other was Eric Lamaze and his top horse, Hickstead.

Jill Henselwood (Special Ed), Mac Cone (Melinda) and Karen Cudmore (Southern Pride) claimed spots through the five-event trial that wound up Saturday with the CN Reliability. Millar finished fourth with In Style, just out of third.

The Pan-Am Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 14-29, is a critical event for Canada's show jumping squad. The team must win a medal -- or finish fourth if the U.S. reaches the podium -- in the team event to go to the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, China.

Millar, who's partaken in eight Olympics and the Alternate Olympics due to the boycott in 1980, believes the squad is good enough to reach that goal.

"With the team we have named now, I would be very optimistic we're gonna get the job done," he said. "What I'm saying is we could have had a stronger team and we got tangled up in our criteria."

The first alternate is John Pearce (Archie Bunker). Millar's second horse, Redefin, is next on the list followed by Mario Deslauriers' Paradigm.

Pearce and Deslauriers chose to forego the trials, as did Lamaze.

Canadian chef d'equip Terrance Millar -- no relation to Ian Millar -- called it "extremely difficult" having to tell Pearce and Deslauriers they'd be alternates.

"The reason you have selected positions is you don't base a decision on what I call a snapshot, which is three competitions within a small period of time," he said. "That can happen and it went poorly for (Millar), but given his record, that's highly unusual."


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