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OLYMPICS: Jonelle's joy at debut medal
MILDENHALL rider Jonelle Richards set her sights on future Olympic success with horse Flintstar after picking up a team bronze medal on her Games debut.
Richards and Marlborough-based Andrew Nicholson helped New Zealand on to the podium behind Olympic champions Germany and silver medallists Great Britain at Greenwich Park.
And the 31-year-old was keen to look ahead to going one or two better in future.
She told the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald: “Some people go to loads of different games but to come to your first Olympics and win a medal is incredible.
“There were some great performances from all of the New Zealand riders and being part of a team with them helped me a lot –everyone contributed.
“The whole experience was just brilliant and the course was absolutely fantastic.
“To be a part of everything and have the whole experience of the Olympic Village was amazing and hopefully, this is the first of many Games for me.
“Flintstar is a great horse and hopefully we can look towards the world championships in two years time."
She added: “There’s a brilliant feeling inside our camp. It really makes a big difference when you have a chemistry between the riders. Flintstar is young, I’m young and we’ll both get smarter.”
Nicholson was unable to provide himself with a 51st birthday present a day early as he finished an agonising fourth in the individual final on Nereo, while Germany’s Michael Jung added Olympic gold to his world and European titles on his own 30th birthday.
Nicholson said. “We finished the first round looking forward to the second because it felt very, very good. I felt like we were being ever so careful.
“We kept to a tight line but were careful on the jumps because you couldn’t afford to have time faults, else you would be playing catch-up. We couldn’t afford to open our stride too much because he could easily take fences down.”
Missing out on qualification for that final were fellow Wiltshire riders Richards, Brazil’s Marcelo Tosi, South African Alexander Peternell and Lucinda Fredericks of Australia.
Tosi, whose Brazil team finished ninth, was also satisfied with his jumping phase on Eleda All Black.
“We did everything correct I’m happy with how we competed,” he said.
“I’m proud of what we have done here because it’s a strong finish by the Brazil team – ninth is an improvement from the last Olympics, so we can be pleased.”
He added that living in the home Olympic nation had given him a sense of what to expect from Rio in four years’ time.
“This has been an amazing event,” he said. “It was a good choice to choose Greenwich as the venue, everybody has been happy with the event and it’s good for the sport.
“Maybe in 2016 we can improve even more because we will have the home support and the support of the Brazilian federation.That gives us hope for the future.”
Peternell also bowed out of the individual competition after incurring 7.00 time penalties in the final team jumping phase.
South Africa were not competing as a team in Greenwich, leaving Peternell, aboard Asih, to fly his country’s flag alone, finishing 49th.
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