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London selection meet looms for equestrian
Three of Australia’s best Paralympians have given valuable advice to the Australian Para-equestrian squad ahead of the first London team selection competition in April.
Sprinter Evan O’Hanlon, rower Kathryn Ross and swimmer Ellie Cole each spoke to the group, who were at the Australian Institute of Sport this week for their last full-squad training camp before April’s crucial meet.
With three gold, two silver and two bronze Paralympic medals between them, the AIS scholarship athletes shared their stories of the Beijing Paralympics, their training and recovery regimes as well as the pressures they put themselves under in the lead up to and during the Games.
Para-Equestrian Head Coach Julia Battams believes the advice from fellow athletes was timely considering there is now195 days and just 89 full horse training hours left before the London Paralympics begin in August.
“When you break down the numbers, we have just 89 training hours left before London. We’re now getting to the pointy end of the four year Games cycle and it’s crucial our athletes do everything they can to get themselves and their horses ready,” said Battams.
“This week our athletes have focused on their physical fitness to improve their core strength, stability and endurance when riding as well as their pre-competition and recovery methods.
“For most of the squad, this is their first Paralympic Games campaign so it was great to talk to Evan, Kathryn and Ellie about what to expect at a Games and the physical and mental work needed to get there.”
Having qualified in the team event at the Oceania regional qualification tournament late last year, Australia will send four athletes and their horses to the Games, where they will compete at London’s prestigious Greenwich Park.
Selection of those four athletes begins at April’s selection meet at Werribee and will be finalised following the second selection competition held in Sydney in May.
By Rebekka Wake