Equestrian athletes are counting down to London 2012
As Australia and the world celebrate 100 days to go to the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games, Equestrian Australia marked the start of a very busy time for Olympic hopefuls vying for selection.
Over the next six weeks, Aussie combinations here and abroad will be putting their best feet forward aiming for a coveted position on the Australian Equestrian team heading to London.
To celebrate this milestone EA caught up with three of our Olympic hopefuls to find out what they’re focusing on right now and over the next 100 days.
Matt Williams – Jumping
Currently based in Florida (USA), Matt is hoping to make his second Olympic team having already competed as a 23 year old at the Beijing Olympic Games.
To represent Australia at London would be amazing. I lived 40 minutes from London for three years and it was great working and riding over there. I made a lot of friends there so it's second only to representing my country at home. I think Greenwich Park, where the Equestrian will be held, is one of the most beautiful areas in London and I can't wait to be part of it if I'm selected.
My plan for the next 100 days is to compete on the European circuit. I arrive there on the 23rd of April and the first selection show is the first weekend in May. I have two horses I am trying to be selected with, so I will be concentrating on preparing them and doing as many shows as I can over the next 100 days.
Lyndal Oatley – Dressage
Lyndal Oatley has climbed to the top of her chosen discipline, representing Australia both as a junior and more recently as a senior at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Her next goal is to wear the green and gold at an Olympic Games.
I sat in the stadium at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 watching the Dressage and from that day on I knew to represent Australia at that level would become my goal. To compete under the Australian flag is one thing, but to wear the Australian emblem and ride in to see the Olympic rings after years of work and dedication to that one event... nothing can compare... It is what dreams are made of!
Everything I do will be focused on the two qualifying events, and doing the best I can at both. As an athlete aiming for the Games, you seem to go through many mental phases - I’m anxious but also focused, more driven and goal orientated. Now with only 100 days to go it’s about getting the job done and I am more focused than ever! In the next 100 days my horses will compete, and we will plan and prepare to ensure we peak at the right time. But what does the end of the 100 days look like? Hopefully it will end with a grinning yours truly in London about to compete in my first Olympics!
Megan Jones - Eventing
Megan Jones has already tasted Olympic success as part of the eventing team which took home the silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. She’s hoping she’ll get the chance to go one better at London 2012.
It would mean so much to me to represent Australia at the Olympic Games in London. In our sport we mostly compete individually so to go to London and represent my country as part of a team would be really special. I would feel really proud to wear the green and gold and it’s also nice to be able to show our sport to the world.
Of the next 100 days, the next two weeks will be key for me. We go to Sydney next week and then we’ll give the horses a couple of weeks off before we step-up their training again. The team hasn’t been selected yet and that won’t happen until June but we have to carry on with preparations as though we have been selected so the horses are ready if we get the chance to compete in London.