Carl Hester wins athlete of the year accolade

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Equestrian expert Carl Hester has won the Olympic Athlete of the Year accolade – having been offered the title by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

He was recognised for his recent outstanding performances – including the part he played in Britain's gold medal-winning European Dressage Championships team earlier this year.

BOA's chief executive officer Andy Hunt said: "British sportsmen have produced some truly outstanding performances throughout 2011, winning no less than 50 medals in Olympic disciplines at World Championships."

He added that the award celebrates the very best of British Olympic talent – and reflects the excellent, medal-winning record British athletes are taking into next year's competition in London.

Recently, the organisers of the Horse of the Year Show announced that they were reducing next year's event from six to five days because of the Olympic Games – much to the disappointment of equine insurance customers.

The additional Express Eventing day will be dropped so as not to dilute visitor numbers.

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