By David Gold

Great_Britains_Lee_Pearson_MBE_OBE_Paralympic_icon_25-07-11July 25 - Venture capital firm Eurovestech plc has created a €25,500 (£22,500/$36,600) fund to support Para-equestrians to prepare for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The grants will go to 15 athletes across the world and are available to riders who have not won medals at a Paralympic Games, World Championships or World Equestrian Games since 2004.

Para-equestrians from smaller nations with less funding are being particularly encouraged to apply for grants.

"It's great news to hear of this initiative as the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) is keen that a great number of athletes get the opportunity to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games across all sports, including para-equestrian," said IPC chief executive officer Xavier Gonzalez.

"Para-Equestrians from smaller nations find it especially difficult to secure the necessary funding for training and with London 2012 now just around the corner it is vital that riders from around the world are supported in their journey to the Paralympics."

The scheme is available to riders who compete either on their own or borrowed horses, who are hoping to participate in the para-equestrian dressage - the only equestrian discipline included in the Paralympic Games.

"The Para-equestrian medals at London 2012 will be hotly contested, just as they were at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last year, when para-dressage was included for the first time," said Trond Asmyr, International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Director of Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage.

"The FEI, IPC and Eurovestech are very much looking forward to lending support to Paralympic hopefuls around the world who are now focusing on competing in Greenwich."

78 athletes will be competing across 11 events next year between August 30 and September 2 at Greenwich Park.

Any riders interested in applying for the grants can contact their national federation with their plans by August 15, 2011.

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